Round 12 of the 2021 AFL season saw the Tigers put down a marker, a massive gap emerge between the haves and have-nots, plus a HUGE Brownlow bolter.

Here’s how it looked for punters: 

Is the Top 8 already sorted?

After just 12 AFL rounds, is the Top 8 already secured in 2021? Wins to Richmond and West Coast — plus losses to fringe Top 8 clubs in Essendon, Fremantle and St Kilda — has created an eight-point buffer between the haves and have nots. That is; a two-game gap (plus percentage) between the Tigers in eighth and the Dons in ninth. The growing split is reflected in the markets, too. Six current Top 8 clubs are shorter than $1.10 to remain there come season’s end, while Sydney ($1.25) and West Coast ($1.40) are still heavily fancied. From there, however, there’s a significant drop with GWS Giants ($2.88) and Essendon ($3.75) the next best.

Oh, and Carlton? After starting the year as $2.37 hopes of making their first AFL Finals series since 2013, the Blues are now way out to $10 after another disappointing loss, this time to the Eagles.

Dreamtime dominance

It was a performance that made the competition sit up. Even though we’ve seen it time and time again over the last four years, Richmond’s electric seven-goal final term against Essendon in the relocated Dreamtime clash was one to remember. Despite giving up the lead midway through the final quarter, Damien Hardwick’s men fought back with grit and class, to overrun the young Bombers outfit. The win made waves in the AFL premiership market, too. Richmond have now leapfrogged into joint-second favourites. The win along saw them shorten from $7 now into $5.50 with Palmerbet.

HUGE Brownlow bolter

Best-on-ground in that clash — just as he was in the Anzac Day clash — was Essendon’s Darcy Parish. With a whopping 44 disposals (an Essendon record), 16 of which contested, plus 11 clearances, the Dons midfielder is now without doubt the AFL’s most improved player in 2021. And he’s made a huge splash in the Brownlow medal market as a result. Starting the year as a $501 hope, Parish is now the $7.50 fourth-favourite. Incredible.