The AFL cycle has come full circle once more - that is, to say, the non-Victorian sides are reigning supreme once again.

For the first time since 2007, two sides outside of Australian Rules' home state fill the top two spots on the ladder after round eight.

Victorian sides - albeit a mixture of Geelong, Collingwood and St Kilda - have occupied the top two from 2008-2011 through eight matches.

Three of the top four this season are from outside Victoria, with West Coast (first), Adelaide (second) and Sydney (fourth) flying high.

Fremantle (eighth) are just one win outside fourth spot, and with master tactician Ross Lyon at the helm, most are expecting the Dockers to be pushing for one of the double-chance spots.

Sure, the form of the Victorian sides inside the eight is not drastically bad - with Essendon (third) the pick of the bunch - but Collingwood (fifth), Hawthorn (sixth) and Carlton (seventh) all seem to have more concerns than their interstate counterparts with 15 weeks of the season to come.

The Magpies, Blues and Hawks have been struck by injuries to key players, with the likes of Luke Ball, Marc Murphy and Luke Hodge all sidelined for their respective clubs.

Furthermore, aside from expansion clubs Gold Coast (17th) and Greater Western Sydney (16th), Victorian representatives Melbourne (18th) and North Melbourne (12th) have been the competition's most disappointing sides so far this season.

Richmond (13th) can't seem to win when it counts, despite showing significant improvement in parts. Having just three wins to show for their gallant efforts so far comes as somewhat of a mental blow to the Tigers.

The league has perennially insisted that interstate sides would never dominate the standings due to their significantly greater home-ground advantage compared to those in Victoria, but it is becoming increasingly likely that we will see another all-interstate grand final at the MCG in September, which would be the fourth in nine years.

And if we do, we can fully expect Andrew Demetriou and his cronies to defend the health of the game in the state, despite the fact that famous clubs such as Melbourne, North Melbourne and Richmond are clearly struggling to win games.

Sportal

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