Three takeaways from round nine

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Geelong’s Gary Rohan celebrates a goal during their clash against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday. (Photo by: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Geelong and Collingwood are a class above the rest

The Cats were challenged against the Bulldogs on Saturday whilst the Magpies flexed their muscles on a competitive Saints outfit only hours earlier.

If you looked at the final scores you could be forgiven for thinking it was two plain-sailing wins, but both sides were pressed by their opponents and still came out 41 and 44 point winners.

Geelong have been clinical so far this season, a new forward set up is excelling with the likes of Gary Rohan and Gary Ablett Jnr upfront and they have the most miserly defence in the competition.

Collingwood are looking to avenge last year’s grand final loss and have an elite midfield, along with a plethora of stars on other parts of the ground.

The Cats have just lost one game in round four to the Giants and no one else has really come that close since.

The Magpies have lost only two, against the Cats in round one by five points before a loss against the Eagles in round three.

If last weekend did anything it showed us the reason as to why these two teams sit first and second on the AFL ladder and that they are the benchmark in 2019.

Brisbane are just about the September bolter

Brisbane had a great start to the season before being dispatched by Collingwood at home in round five – which gave everyone reason to perhaps temper their enthusiasm as to what the Lions are in 2019.

Albeit a loss to the Bulldogs in round eight, the Lions have bounced back from that Collingwood lesson strongly and their one point victory over the Crows last Saturday was evidence that they can compete with the competition’s stronger clubs.

Previous years it was almost a case of having to play in multiple finals series before you can be considered as a team that can make any sort of meaningful impact in September, more recent years have shown that this is no longer the case.

Collingwood made a grand final appearance last season after not playing finals since 2013, the Tigers won a premiership in 2017 after not playing finals the year before, whilst the Bulldogs won a premiership in 2016 when many didn’t give them a chance heading into September.

It’s hard to expect as much from a young Lions’ group that currently sits fourth on the ladder, but they should take confidence that if you can get to September, strange things can happen.

Carlton have a great way of luring us into a false sense of security

A win and an honourable loss or two was enough for many of us to believe Carlton are ‘on the right track’ – and they still may very well be, but the Giants’ 93-point thrashing of the Blues made us question why we believed that at all.

The Blues played out of their skin a week prior against Collingwood at the MCG, a performance that would see them beat quite a few other sides in the competition.

Whilst the Giants’ are no slouches, especially on their home ground, the Blues were smashed from the outset and never looked competitive against their more fancied opponents.

It’s added pressure for Carlton coach Brendan Bolton who is desperately trying to turn his young side into one that knows how to win.

This week the Blues face St Kilda on Sunday, who are also struggling to find some form, we expect the Blues to respond and take it up to the Saints but what does it all mean if they can’t piece it together consistently?

Another performance like we saw last week would be an unmitigated disaster.

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