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Aussie Rules: The AFL minor premiership contenders

The race for the McClelland Trophy which is awarded to the team that finishes at the top of the ladder at the end of the regular season is hotting up, with five teams all in with a shout of being crowned the minor premiers.

Finishing top of the ladder, or in second place for that matter, is a huge bonus when it comes to the finals series.

You get two bites of the cherry and also have home advantage. But saying that the minor premiers don’t go on to win the grand final that often.

Melbourne were minor premiers last season and did go on to win the grand final, but it is not as common as you might expect.

The last team to do the double before Melbourne was Hawthorn back in 2013, and then Collingwood in 2010.

Since 1994 only nine minor premiers have gone on to win the premiership. However it is not to be sniffed at and everyone wants to win it.

So let’s take a look at the main contenders.

Geelong

23/10 to win grand final

Geelong currently sit joint top on 52 points along with Melbourne and are many peoples fancies to go all the way this year.

They last won the minor premiership in 2019 but went on to finish third in finals as Richmond won the grand final. They have been crowned minor premiers and premiers in the same year on six occasions.

They are bang in form after winning the last eight games on the bounce. Not only that their run-in looks very nice indeed. The Cats have three games on home soil against the Western Bulldogs, St Kilda and West Coast Eagles.

The away games are against Port Adelaide and the Gold Coast Suns. All very winnable games and Chris Scott’s men are looking good to take top spot.

Melbourne

23/10 to win grand final

Melbourne won both the minor premiership and premiership last season but have work to do if they are to repeat it in 2022.

They may be joint top but their form has been patchy of late. The Demons have lost four of the last seven games and they face a very difficult conclusion to the regular season when playing three of the top five.

They must face Fremantle, Collingwood and Brisbane. Not only that Carlton are in the top eight and the Western Bulldogs, who they face this weekend are ninth.

It does not get much harder for Simon Goodwin’s men but if they can hit top form then all games are winnable.

Brisbane

9/1 to win grand final

The Lions are third on the ladder level on points with Fremantle and Collingwood and one win away from the top two so are right in the mix.

Their form has been inconsistent to say the least. They have gone W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W over the last 9 games and need to sort that out if they are to have any chance of finishing top of the ladder.

Brisbane are a relatively new club and have yet to win a minor premiership or premiership since their inception in 1997.

The run-in to the end of the season could also be easier. They have to face the Gold Coast Suns, Richmond, Carlton, St Kilda and Melbourne.

Still in with a shout if they can start stringing wins together.

Fremantle

17/2 to win grand final

Fremantle have been looking great this season and have come along way after not making finals since they last won the minor premiership back in 2015.

However the defeat to Sydney Swans last weekend at Optus Stadium but a big dent in their minor premiership hopes. They need to bounce back when they take on Richmond over east on Friday night.

The next three games against Richmond, Western Bulldogs and Melbourne are huge. They wrap up the regular season with a derby game against struggling West Coast before travelling to Sydney to face GWS.

The Dockers have shown they have bags of talent this season, they just need to gel together on a consistent basis.
 

Collingwood

15/1 to win grand final

Momentum will be huge for Collingwood who have climbed to fifth on the ladder following a hugely impressive run of form.

The Pies have won the last eight games on the bounce and although they have scraped through on a couple of occasions recently they are hitting form at just the right time.

They have a big game against in-form Essendon this weekend, while the remainder of the season also looks tricky.

There are games against Melbourne, Carlton and Sydney to come, while Port Adelaide will be no pushovers. But the Pies are on a roll and could take some stopping.

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