The AFL minor premiership race has been thrown wide open, with West Coast and Brisbane joining the faltering Cats at the top of the ladder.

Eagles goalsneak Liam Ryan booted four goals to inspire his team to a 24-point win over Carlton at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

And a short time later, Brisbane posted an 18-point victory over a plucky Bulldogs at the Gabba.

The results saw both Brisbane and West Coast join Geelong on 14 wins with three rounds to go.

The Cats are still ahead by sizeable percentage, but their form line suggests they are running out of puff.

Saturday’s shock 34-point loss to Fremantle was Geelong’s fourth from their past seven games and has raised major questions about their premiership credentials.

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The second-placed Eagles are just 0.8 per cent above the third-placed Lions.

The way things are panning out, percentage could be crucial in determining who makes the four and in which order.

West Coast coach Adam Simpson says he can’t afford to worry about that

“We just want to keep winning. We want to finish as high as we can,” he said.

“It’s hard to concern yourself about percentage. We don’t even talk about it. If we keep winning, we’ll be right.”

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Brisbane, who have won seven straight and West Coast aren’t the only teams hunting Geelong.

Fourth-placed Richmond beat Melbourne by 33 points on Saturday night for their sixth straight win and are now just one game adrift of the Cats.

Collingwood and GWS (12-7) are one win further back and still eyeing off a top-four berth.

The Magpies gave their percentage an important boost with a 69-point result over Gold Coast on Sunday while GWS survived a late scare to beat Sydney by two on Saturday night.

Adelaide (10-9) eased the pressure on coach Don Pyke and ensured they would stay a win inside the top eight with a 22-point win over St Kilda.

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Port Adelaide (9-10) kept their finals hopes alive with an upset 59-point away win over Essendon but those of Hawthorn were ended by a 22-point loss to North Melbourne on Friday night.

Fremantle’s shock victory over the Cats has seemingly secured the future of coach Ross Lyon who was already contracted for 2020 but five losses from six games had placed his spot in doubt.

But the veteran has the backing of Fremantle’s board to continue on next year, with the Dockers still a slim chance to play finals following their heroics against Geelong.

Run To The AFL Finals For The Contenders

1. GEELONG, 56 points, 130.5 per cent. North Melbourne (GMHBA), Brisbane (Gabba), Carlton (GMHBA)

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2. WEST COAST, 56 points, 117.3 per cent. Adelaide (OS), Richmond (MCG), Hawthorn (OS)

3. BRISBANE, 56 points, 116.5 per cent. Gold Coast (Gabba), Geelong (Gabba), Richmond (MCG)

4. RICHMOND, 52 points, 111.3 per cent. Carlton (MCG), West Coast (MCG), Brisbane (MCG)

5. GWS, 48 points, 121.5 per cent. Hawthorn (UNSW Canberra), Western Bulldogs (GS), Gold Coast (Metricon)

6. COLLINGWOOD, 48 points, 113.2 per cent. Melbourne (MCG), Adelaide (AO), Essendon (MCG)

7. ESSENDON, 44 points, 100.1 per cent. Western Bulldogs (Marvel), Fremantle (OS), Collingwood (MCG)

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8. ADELAIDE, 40 points, 108.7 per cent. West Coast (OS), Collingwood (AO), Western Bulldogs (Mars)

9. PORT ADELAIDE, 36 points, 106.1 per cent. Sydney (AO), North Melbourne (Marvel), Fremantle (AO)

10. WESTERN BULLDOGS, 36 points, 95.8. per cent Essendon (Marvel), GWS (GS), Adelaide (Mars)

11. FREMANTLE, 36 points, 95.8 per cent. St Kilda (Marvel), Essendon (OS), Port Adelaide (AO)

 

AAP

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