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Aussie Rules: The battle to make the top four

There is just one round of the AFL home and away season to go before we head into finals and the make-up of the top-four has yet to be decided.

It has been an exciting season so far, tighter than ever at the top, and we look set to have a thrilling climax to the campaign.

First of all it needs to be decided who will join Geelong in the top two. The Cats sit top of the pile and already have the minor premiership in the bag, but it is very tight below them.

Just two points separate second place Sydney Swans and sixth-place Fremantle. The Swans along with Collingwood, Melbourne and Brisbane are on 60 points, with Freo sitting on 58.

With one game to go anything could happen and a place in the top two would be the biggest prize.

Finishing there would guarantee two home finals and is a huge advantage. Next best is finishing in the top four. It is crucial to your chances of going on to win the grand final.

A team finishing outside of the top four and then going on to win the grand final is a rare occurrence. The Western Bulldogs were the last team to do it in 2016.

So with so much at stake let’s take a closer look at each of the contenders heading into the final round.
 

Sydney Swans

The Swans sit second on the ladder and have their destiny in their own hands heading into the final round of the season.

They have the added advantage of being the final game of the round on Sunday afternoon and will know exactly what they have to do. Although that can also bring added pressure.

Sydney also face a St Kilda side that may need the win to force their way into the top eight so the stakes are high in both camps.

The Swans have won the last six games on the bounce, including a massive win over Collingwood last week so confidence will be sky high. They are 9/2 to win the grand final.
 

Melbourne

The reigning premiers sit third on the ladder and have a huge game against fourth-place Brisbane at the Gabba on Friday night.

Whoever loses this one looks set to miss out on the top four unless Fremantle and Collingwood both slip up. So the stakes could not be higher.

Melbourne’s form has been very different from this time last year and they have lost three out of the last six games. However they can take confidence from a dramatic late win over Carlton last week.

They have the quality to get the job done still and are priced at 7/2 to win the grand final.
 

Brisbane

As mention above, the game against Melbourne on Friday night could not be much bigger and the Lions need a win to guarantee a place in the top four.

Home advantage will certainly help Brisbane as they have lost just the one game on home soil this season and will fancy their chances of getting the win.

The Lions are in good form having won four out of the last five games. And the game they did lose was a close encounter with Richmond who got up by just seven points.

Brisbane currently sit fourth on the ladder and are priced at 10/1 to win the grand final.
 

Collingwood

The Magpies have been flying and had won 11 games on the bounce before they were shot down by Sydney last weekend.

The defeat means they slip to fifth on the ladder due to their percentage but can jump back into the top four with a win this weekend.

That will not be easy though as they face arch rivals Carlton, who need to win to guarantee their own place in the top eight.

The MCG will be packed and a classic game could be on the cards. Collingwood are priced at 9/1 to win the grand final.

Fremantle

Freo are sixth on the ladder, two points behind the rest, but could still sneak into the top four if they can win at Greater Western Sydney and other results go their way.

The Dockers do have a bit of advantage as they play GWS in the first game of the day on Saturday. Picking up the four points would take them into the top four and put the pressure on Collingwood and Sydney ahead of their games on Sunday.

Fremantle have got back in the groove with wins over the Western Bulldogs and West Coast and another could still get them into the top four. They are priced at 16/1 to win the grand final.

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