Three takeaways from round sixteen

Bailey Smith of the Western Bulldogs celebrates a goal with teammates during their win over Geelong. (Photo by: Scott Barbour/AFL Photos)

The Bulldogs are going to cause teams problems  

Whether the Bulldogs are capable of making an unlikely push towards finals or not, they are definitely going to be a testing proposition for sides that are set to face them in the run home.

Their win over Port Adelaide on the road almost two weeks ago reminded us of the brilliance of Marcus Bontempelli and the talent in their midfield, but it was a game that many people believed said more about the Power rather than how impressive the Bulldogs were.

The Bulldogs strong win over premiership favourites Geelong on Saturday however has them receiving the plaudits they deserve, and Luke Beveridge’s men now only sit outside of the eight by one game and percentage.

Bontempelli, Lachie Hunter and Jackson Macrae all dominated in the midfield against the well-fancied Cats whilst Aaron Naughton shone with four goals up forward.

Their run home features matches against Melbourne, St Kilda, Fremantle, Brisbane, Essendon, GWS and Adelaide; all those games are winnable based on the Bulldogs current form, which means a remarkable September appearance may not be out of the question.

Collingwood and GWS have some work to do before finals

Two losses in a row for both the Pies and the Giants may not have the alarm bells ringing, but it’s certainly a wake-up call for two sides set to feature prominently in September.

The Pies were shocked by North Melbourne before losing a tight game to a battling Hawthorn side last Friday night, which has them looking over their shoulder as other teams challenge them for spot in the top four.

The Giants followed up their close loss to Essendon with a 20-point defeat to Brisbane which saw the Lions jump them into fourth spot on the ladder, like the Pies, they will also need to reverse their form if they want to lock in a top four spot by the end of the season.

The Pies and Giants are premiership worthy teams, Collingwood are looking to go one better following last year’s grand final disappointment, whilst the Giants have had the talent to win a premiership for multiple years now.

It’s unlikely we’ll see these two teams lose too many more games before the end of the season, but recent weeks have given their coaches plenty to think about as they prepare for the remaining rounds of the season.

The Tigers are building

A 92-point win over the Gold Coast is hard to gauge, such is the Suns current lack of form, but it did just alert us that Richmond may be on the way back into some really good form, and with some important players to return in coming weeks.

2017 saw Richmond hit a vein a form at the end of the season that carried them on a remarkable run to their first premiership in 37 years, 2019 won’t have the Tigers as well placed as they were in 2017, but they would be a daunting opponent to meet in the finals for any side if they reach some of their best form towards the end of the year.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has welcomed back captain Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards and David Astbury in recent weeks, and also has the luxury of welcoming back star forward and co-captain Jack Riewoldt this weekend for their game against the Giants, along with other important players Josh Caddy, Jack Higgins and Liam Baker who have all been named on an extended bench.

The Tigers have a huge test against the Giants this week, but are regaining some key players at the right time of the year whilst also building some form; it’s been a tough year for them thus far, but perhaps their fortunes are turning?

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