Have a look at the table below. It is a list of what the AFL Ladder would look like after Round 7 if we discard the matches involving the three teams which have proven themselves as the clear bottom three of the competition, Greater Western Sydney, Gold Coast and Melbourne.
Due to the uneven amount of matches played among the remaining 15 teams, positions on the ladder are decided on match ratio, followed by percentage.Pos, Team, Matches Played, Matches Won, Match Ratio, Percentage
1. Essendon, Pl 6, W5, 83.3, 139.91%
2. Adelaide, Pl 5, W4, 80, 107.81%
3. West Coast, Pl 5, W4, 80, 105.93%
4. Collingwood, Pl 7, W5, 71.4, 107.05%
5. Carlton, Pl 6, W4, 66.6, 130.16%
6. Fremantle, Pl 6, W4, 66.6, 115.44%
7. Sydney, Pl 6, W4, 66.6, 114.80%
8. Hawthorn, Pl 6, W3, 50, 112.87%
9. Geelong, Pl 6, W3, 50, 96.21%
10. St Kilda, Pl 5, W2, 40, 107.92%
11. Richmond, Pl 6, W2, 33.3. 96.26%
12. North Melbourne, Pl 5, W1, 20, 88.04%
13. Western Bulldogs, Pl 5, W1, 20, 59.63%
14. Port Adelaide, Pl 7, W1, 14, 76.24%
15. Brisbane Pl 5, W 0, 0, 47.79 %
There are two remarkable features of this ladder when compared to the actual Round 7 ladder.
The first involves percentages, in particular around West Coast Eagles and Adelaide, who have both had two games - and two healthy wins - against bottom three placed sides so far this year.
West Coast are currently top of the ladder thanks to their percentage advantage over Essendon and Adelaide, but when the Eagles' massive wins over Melbourne and GWS are discounted from the equation, their percentage falls from 138.4 to a less-impressive 105.93.
It's a similar story for Adelaide, who have enjoyed easy wins over GWS and Gold Coast to date, with their 'real' percentage slipping from 126 to 107.81.
It proves that the concerns teams who enjoy playing the bottom three on two occasions are handed a considerable advantage are well founded.
The 'real' ladder also reveals just how poor Brisbane Lions have been in the first seven rounds of the competition. Without their two wins over Melbourne and Gold Coast, Brisbane have failed to win a game and have a terrible percentage of 47.79. They have averaged less than 52 points in those games.
Lo-and-behold, the Lions get another chance to pad their record out when they face GWS at the Gabba this week. They may well be the worst 3-5 side in the history of the competition.
The Bombers top the ladder having only lost one game to a 'top 15' team this year, that to Collingwood by one point on Anzac Day, while their only match against one of the bottom three came against Gold Coast, a match they actually struggled to win.
There are only two teams, Collingwood and Port Adelaide, who are yet to meet one of the bottom three. That tells us that at 1-6, Power aren't as bad as they seem, while the Pies have three matches against the bottom three, including successive matches against Gold Coast and Melbourne at the MCG in June, to bolster their current percentage of 107.05.
North Melbourne and St Kilda's current records are flattered by their comfortable early season draw but both are benefitted by the fact they still have three matches to come against the bottom three in 2012.It will be interesting to see what the ladder will look like after Round 23.