It has taken 20 weeks but St Kilda has had its first defeat of the 2009 season. The Bombers threw everything at them but the Saints rebounded from 43 points down to mount a stern comeback. As it was Nick Riewoldt had a kick after the siren to win the game but it went wide.

The Saints sit on top of the AFL ladder and will end the season in first place. Geelong sit under them in second spot and these two are the favorites to be contesting the AFL Grand Final.

Below these two is where it starts to get interesting. Collingwood and the Bulldogs are on the next line of AFL betting and should make up the rest of the top four but the Brisbane Lions and even Carlton might get there if results go its way.

After some fine AFL results, Carlton is going to be playing in the finals for the first time since 2001. Carlton coach Brett Ratten can be very proud of the way his side has come together under his guidance.

It looks to be a real fight for the eighth and final position. Any of Hawthorn, Sydney, Port Adelaide and Essendon could potentially end up with it. As the incumbent, Essendon is the most likely to ultimately claim it but should it lose this week in Fremantle than anything is possible come Round 22.

After North Melbourne announced that Brad Scott would be its new coach in 2010, that only leaves Richmond as coachless. The Tigers have been ok since Jade Rawlings replaced Terry Wallace but in recent weeks they have been hopeless. Against the Swans and Collingwood they seemed to be totally disinterested in winning the match. The culture seems to be an issue at Punt Road and like all of his predecessors, the new coach may find that its something you just can’t change.

The culture at Sydney should be strong and Paul Roos will be handing over the reins of a united team to John Longmire. Roos has already announced that 2010 will be his last year. This year looked to be a waste for the Swans but close losses to St Kilda and Geelong show the spirit of 2005 and 2006 is still there. They might be a lot closer to being one of the strong sides of the competition than their earlier form may have suggested. They don’t have the distraction of Barry Hall to deal with anymore and have a number of talented young kids coming through.

David Wiseman writes about AFL and Horseracing. This year he hopes to correctly predict the winner of the Caulfield Guineas.