The West Coast Eagles, to the surprise of more than a few, find themselves atop the ladder following the first nine rounds of the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition, four points ahead of the defending premier Richmond Tigers.
The path ahead for the Eagles looks promising.
They have the Hawthorn Hawks at Etihad Stadium directly ahead of them, which could present of challenge if the Eagles fall prey to complacency, but that would seem to be the only way they could stumble in Round 10, with the Round 11 game leading into the Eagles’ bye week coming against the hapless St. Kilda Saints in the Eagles’ friendly Optus Stadium.
Without overtaxing our limited imaginations, it is not hard to see the Eagles going into their break as the holders of a 10 – 1 record and they have to feel confident after their easy win over the premiers in Round 9.
Richmond has another month to go before its mid-season break, over which time they will play the Power and the Cats, so their defense of the 2017 flag will not be an easy one.
The other surprise of the season, the Melbourne Demons, currently occupy third on the ladder and a real test of their legitimacy will come in Round 10, when they caravan to Northern Territory to stage a showdown with the Adelaide Crows.
The Crows had a bumpy start to the 2018 AFL season, but they are now showing signs of returning to the form that had them tipped to win it all ahead of the season. They now occupy the fourth rung and it could be speculated that they are quite content to play the Dees away from the MCG, where their high-flying 2017 campaign came to an ignominious end in the 2017 Grand Final, where the Tigers enjoyed a 100 – 1 edge in supporters.