Sport AFL AFL finals beckon, but who’ll snare eighth spot?

AFL finals beckon, but who’ll snare eighth spot?

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Richmond coach Damien Hardwick reckons it’s perfect.

No doubt, so do AFL heavyweights who couldn’t have scripted it better.

Hardwick holds the keys to the finals entering a fascinating finale to the home-and-away season.

Richmond are among five clubs scrapping for eighth spot and a finals berth.

Remarkably, all positions in the top eight are mathematically able to change this weekend.

But eighth spot is down to Hardwick and his Tigers: beat the Swans in Sydney on Saturday, and Richmond make the playoffs.

“There’s no better place you would rather be than having your destiny in our own hands,” Hardwick told reporters on Thursday.

Richmond (eighth), Collingwood (ninth), West Coast (10th), Adelaide (11th) and Gold Coast (12th) are alive – albeit some by maths only – in a last-gasp battle to make the finals.

The playoff permutations come as some greats farewell the AFL.

Eagles legend Dean Cox might play his final game. Or maybe not, should West Coast pinch eighth spot and reach the finals. Same scenario for Adelaide full-back Ben Rutten – both will retire at the end of their club’s season.

At least St Kilda stalwart Lenny Hayes knows his fate: his decorated career ends on Sunday when the wooden-spooners play the Crows.


* SYDNEY (1st, 68 points, 145.1 percentage): Keep top spot by beating Richmond. Lose, and still keep top billing provided Hawthorn don’t thrash Collingwood

* HAWTHORN (2nd, 64, 138.3): Secure second by defeating Collingwood. Top is mathematically possible should Sydney lose

* GEELONG (3rd, 64, 110.8): Rise to second with a win against Brisbane, and a Hawthorn loss

* FREMANTLE (4th, 60, 131.9): Keep fourth if they beat Port; drop to fifth with a loss

* PORT ADELAIDE (5th, 56, 132.4): Climb to fourth by downing Fremantle; stay fifth if defeated

* NORTH MELBOURNE (6th, 52, 116.2): Win or lose against Melbourne, likely to stay sixth, due to percentage gaps to Port and Essendon

* ESSENDON (7th, 48, 106.7): Remain seventh with a win against Carlton; might drop to eighth if they lose and Richmond win

* RICHMOND (8th, 44, 105.8): Beat Sydney, finish eighth – or possibly seventh, if Essendon lose

* COLLINGWOOD (9th, 44, 97.4): Finish eighth if they beat Hawthorn and Richmond lose

* WEST COAST (10th, 40, 114.7): Beat Gold Coast and could leap to eighth – if Richmond, Collingwood and Adelaide lose, or if the Crows can’t record a huge win

* ADELAIDE (11th, 40, 110.2): Steal eighth if they beat St Kilda; and Richmond, Collingwood and West Coast lose

* GOLD COAST (12th, 40, 96.0): Must beat the Eagles by about 20 goals – and Richmond, Collingwood and Adelaide lose