State of Play: A look at how the teams have shaped up so far as we approach the halfway point of the season

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Rams win streak came to an end at the hands of the Rovers
Camera IconRams win streak came to an end at the hands of the Rovers Credit: Jake Santa Maria

As we fast approach the halfway point of the season it’s a good chance to reflect on where the teams stand as we head into the general bye this weekend.

1. Northampton (W4 L1 %151.23)

The Rams could not have asked for a better start to their season with four straight wins their most impressive coming in round two in a tight win against Brigades. Harry Taylor and Jack Cripps have headlined their wins while Flynn Dillon has continued his good form from last year. Dylan Corbett and Michael Wright have also impressed in the midfield boasting one of the strongest in the comp. Their loss to Rovers continued a downward trend on the offensive end and their failure to capitalise against Mullewa and Towns has left them with an underwhelming percentage compared with others in the top four. Without Taylor and Cripps in the past couple of games, their forward line has been underwhelming with Trent Simpson well beaten in the Dees clash it was left to the midfield to make up the difference. But when they’re in the side they still look the team to beat this season.

2. Railways (W3 L0 %419.79)

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The Blues are the only unbeaten team left in the competition however that statement is somewhat misleading given they’ve only played three games so far. Dion Anthony has made a welcome return to the side while the Perham brothers have also bolstered their stocks. Jesse Adamini continues to impress but perhaps their biggest strength is them as a collective rather than as individual players. Their biggest issue is not their making but the fact they have yet to really be tested against the top sides so far leaving their true form up for question.

3. Brigades (W3 L1 %330.41)

In recent weeks, the Hawks have built a death star completely annihilating Towns and Mullewa after banishing the Demons in round 1. Jayden Schofield has slipped straight back into the side seamlessly while Kristerfer Ryder is the best small forward in the competition. Dale Williamson is still working his way back from injury and Hayden Johnson has been solid in the ruck. Inaccuracy cost them against the Rams and you can argue they haven’t been tested since then but right now they look the scariest side in the competition.

4. Chapman Valley (W2 L2 %164.59)

The Royals have easily won the games they should have but against fellow contenders, they have been competitive but have come up short on both occasions. Gerard McKenna has led from the front this season and Tristan Jacques’ development in ruck this year has been noticeable. The loss of Lee Hutchins will hurt as he moves over east, the 158-gamer veteran being one of the most consistent performers over the last few seasons. The next three fixtures of Rams, Hawks and Blues will go a long way to how their season unfolds. They are all home games which will help and if they can win two out of three finals could well be in touching distance.

5. Rovers (W2 L2 %97.69)

Even as the reigning premiers the large changes to the Demons were always going to take some time to find their rhythm as they struggled in their opening matches. But they have improved with each game and have won two games on the trot against fellow top-four hopefuls including stopping the Rams winning run. They also still have soft fixtures against the Saints and Towns to come to help bolster their position. Chris Scott has continued where he left off while Tom Denton’s return has been fruitful and Stuart Egan has been a rock off half-back. There’s also been promising improvement in their youth stocks in the likes of Khyan Townsend, Jy Thurstun and Clay Azevedo. Their main concerns would be around an undersized forward line and ill-discipline with them being their own worst enemies at times this season.

6. Mullewa (W1 L4 %34.37)

The Saints won their first match against the Bulldogs and that has been the highlight of what has turned into a horrid season. They’ve had three losses by more than 150 points in the past month and a myriad of off-field indiscretions has seen the spotlight on them for all the wrong reasons. Calvin Wall has been a standout along with Morris Comeagain in a forward line without much supply. Towns in round eight may be their best chance to get some good feelings going back at the club but right now they are in a hole that will take a lot of work to climb out of.

7. Towns (W0 L5 %24.42)

It was always going to be a difficult season for Towns as their focus is on getting some experience in their youth and hopefully keeping them in the off-season. They haven’t looked like winning a game and have lost every quarter except for a late fightback against Mullewa which was always going to come up short. Matthew Russell has been the standout performer with five best-player nominations while Ned Osborn and Paydn Mason have three. There were encouraging signs against the Rams and will be targeting their clash against Mullewa in round 8 as the best chance put one in the win column this season.

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