AFL Hot Form Chart

The city of churches and the city of temporary fencing lost their teams last week, thus reducing the number of AFL flag hopefuls to just six.

But before Andrew Demetriou can say “interstate TV ratings”, let’s fire up the Crikey Hot Form Chart and study the stats, with the help of an all-new feature — the X-factor.

Crikey Ranking


Opponent this week

Last five games


Port Adelaide






West Coast

Collingwood (Subiaco)




West Coast (Subiaco)




Kangaroos (MCG)




Hawthorn (MCG)


1. Port Adelaide

Can it be true? For the first time since … well, since it was published, Geelong aren’t sitting atop Crikey’s Hot Form Chart. On the back of five straight victories (one over the Cats themselves), the Power are now officially top, top, top. Do we have a genuine premiership contender? The stats say yes.

X-factor: Isabelle Veronica Williams. She is one week old tomorrow. Should her birth prove portentous and the Power take out the flag, expect a slew of similar Port-ents come July next year.

2. Geelong

Geelong won the fight and beat the spread when they absolutely shilacked the Kangaroos on Sunday. The Cats are now shorter than Phar Lap in a fixed donkey race to take the flag but somehow, they’re only second best on the Crikey chart. Prophetic?

X-factor: The Chaos Theory. If a Japanese butterfly can cause mud slides in Java, what will a lone Geelong supporter who fails to ‘keep the lid on it’ do?

3. West Coast

My mum told me that by playing injured superstar, Chris Judd, West Coast are admitting to the rest of the competition that they can’t win without him. My mum is an ex-Australian netballer who is not without a clue on such matters. My mum is also a Quinn, and if you jump up a few branches on the family tree, you’ll run into Ellen Quinn, mother of Ned Kelly. So, when I see a West Coast team missing Judd, Cousins and Kerr, I feel a genetic authority in declaring: such is life.

X-Factor: Subiaco. It’s the Eagles’ iron armour.

4. Collingwood

Do the Pies flatter to deceive? Or are they legitimate contenders? Methinks tonight’s rumble in the West will reveal all. The Pies travel but take their best side to face an Eagles line-up without a midfield. All of which means Collingwood are favourites against West Coast in Perth … just don’t tell Mick Malthouse.

X-Factor: See above. Despite everything, Collingwood still must overcome the combination of venue and team for the first time since 1992.

5. Hawthorn

Winners of the game of the year last week, and it was a final to boot. Hawthorn overcame some last quarter yips to announce emphatically it is the real deal. Now the Hawks face the Roos, who looked pedestrian at last outing, and possibly the Power after that. And it’s all down to one man …

X-Factor: Buddy. If Lance Franklin can do that which has eluded him thus far and string some big games together, the Hawks might find themselves more than just a happy team … they’ll be bloody ecstatic.

6. Kangaroos

Like an opponent of Roger Federer, the Roos look destined to go out in straight sets. Can the Shinboners summon something special and give September a shake? Computer says no.

X-Factor: Wayne Carey. Remember the controversy when The King told us Dean Laidley couldn’t coach? The Roos couldn’t stop winning. Since then, Wayne has jumped on the bandwagon and it’s ground to a halt. For godsake, Wayne, do the club thing and start bagging Dean again!

Crikey’s AFL Hot Form Tips are:

  • West Coast
  • Hawthorn

NRL Hot Form Chart: the Shakespeare edition

It’s not often that the loss of a football team brings down a Premier but we’re talking Queensland here and Peter Beattie is a proud man. There was no way the Victorian flag would be flying over Parliament on his watch!

For finals round 2, we thought a thespian point of view might add something to the stats as we pick apart Crikey’s NRL Hot Form Chart.

Crikey Ranking


Opponent this week

Last five games






Warriors (Dairy Farmers)



Sea Eagles




Cowboys (Dairy Farmers)




Bulldogs (Telstra)




Eels (Telstra)


1. Melbourne Storm

Like last year, the Storm have secured the Minor Premiership. Like last year, the Storm have a week off before the prelim. Unlike last year, the Storm are in season best form. Hard to toss from here.

The Bard Bit: Is this the Broncos I see before me? It was a legitimate question after the Storm swept aside a barely recognisable Brisbane outfit last Sunday. Channel Seven Reporter Ben Davis was asking a similar question: Is that a Broncos fan I smell behind me?

2. North Queensland Cowboys

The Cowboys play in the daytime this weekend, a schedule that has caused them problems in ’07. I know of another creature who goes all woozy and weak in the sunlight … that’s right, Philip Ruddock.

The Bard Bit: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Might as well. It will be like one in Townsville and should prove too hot for the Warriors. The Cowboys are on a roll.

3. Manly Sea Eagles

Manly put scratchy performances behind them and dumped Souths – a team with momentum and sentiment behind it – out of the competition last week. The rest will be appreciated ahead of a likely preliminary final battle with the red-hot Cowboys.

The Bard Bit: Against the Rabbitohs, Manly play-maker Matt Orford chipped, ran, and then collapsed like a shot Christiano Ronaldo after colliding with Ben Rogers. He assures us he really was injured. Methinks he assures us too much.

4.New Zealand Warriors

Teams who lose at home in the first week of finals often sag like a pricked balloon – especially when the home ground comes with the palpable advantage of Mt Smart Stadium. Now, the Warriors go north where the air is wet, the men are thirsty, and the crocs are nervous.

The Bard Bit: That island of New Zealand breeds very valiant creatures … and they’ll need to be to overcome the Cowboys at home.

5. Parramatta Eels

As if the existing Eels-Bulldogs rivalry wasn’t hot enough, Willie Mason has thrown accelerant on the bonfire by claiming in a newspaper article that the Bulldogs would not be overly concerned at having to play Parramatta in the finals. This after Mason’s team was downed by the Eels! You can call Willie a lot of things … and arrogant is certainly one of them.

The Bard Bit: If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge – ‘nuff said.

6. Bulldogs

The Dogs tell us they are in good form despite three narrow losses. Unfortunately, the only form Crikey’s Hot Form Chart notices is winning form. We are a tipping the Eels in what is shaping up as an old fashioned, hate-fueled, rip snorter of a game.

The Bard Bit: Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war! OK, it’s a bit of a cliché but if Parra have the words of Willie Mason’s ghostwriter for motivation it’s only fair the Bulldogs have their own hack scribbler to get fired up over.

Crikey’s NRL Hot Form Tips are:

  • Eels
  • Cowboys