We may be one week closer to the finals, but we’re certainly no closer to figuring out who the flag favourites are in AFL season 2017.

Two weeks after losing to bottom-placed Brisbane, Essendon handed an inaccurate St Kilda a ten-goal hiding on Friday night at Etihad Stadium. It was a 128 point turnaround for the Saints from the week before, who were coming off a massive win over 5th placed Richmond – make sense of that! Furthermore, it could be fatal to St Kilda’s finals chances, as they play five Top 8 teams on the run home.

Is there anything Patrick Dangerfield can’t do? After sustaining a foot injury, Chris Scott moved his superstar midfielder forward, where he kicked 5.6 and was still the best player on the ground. Isaac Smith missed another last minute kick to win the game and Geelong and Hawthorn played out another classic. Great stuff.

After a competitive first half of the year, the wheels are falling off at North Melbourne – smashed by Port Adelaide by 70 points at Adelaide Oval. While they are playing a lot of kids, senior players like Todd Goldstein and Jack Ziebell have been tremendously disappointing this year. Port, on the other hand, continue to solidify their top four position and the tantalising prospect of a Showdown in week one of the finals is growing.

Nathan Buckley will enjoy a week off from media scrutiny after Collingwood narrowly beat an injury-hit Gold Coast team. Daniel Wells was excellent in his return and if he can remain fit, he could play a big role in how strongly the Pies finish off 2017 and therefore Bucks’ future.

Sydney’s march into premiership contention continued as they comfortably accounted for their cross-town rival on Saturday night. The Swans are now firmly entrenched in the Top 8 after winning nine of their last 10 matches, while the Giants have one win and two draws to show from their last five games. They desperately need more of their best 22 out there as finals approach.

Adelaide further solidified their spot on top of the ladder after easily accounting for Melbourne in Darwin. Even with Rory Sloane tagged out of the game and then taken out of the game with concussion, the Crows were far too good all over the park. A top of the table clash between Adelaide and Geelong on Friday night should be a belter.

On Sunday, Brisbane gave Richmond some early headaches before the Tigers kicked away in the second half, while the Western Bulldogs kept their finals chances alive with a win over Carlton. The Doggies have a nice run home but with a very ordinary percentage, they’ll need to win all their remaining games to earn the right to defend their premiership.

Finally, West Coast defeated Fremantle in the last – and possibly the worst – derby at Subiaco. With limited tall forward options, the Eagles’ defence had a field day as the Dockers continually bombed the ball inside 50. Not a game to remember.

What did you like, learn and hate from AFL Round 17? Have your say here.

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