Former Melbourne captain Garry Lyon says the Demons are no certainty to play finals for the first time since 2006.
The Dees currently sit in sixth with an impressive percentage of 127.3, but with a difficult draw to come and in-form sides Hawthorn and GWS looming outside the top eight, their chances of breaking an eleven-year September drought aren’t as clear-cut as they were just three weeks ago.
“I hate saying this – Melbourne are no lock,” Lyon told SEN Breakfast.
“They finish with Sydney, West Coast and GWS, which is tough. They’ve got Geelong down at GMHBA Stadium and they’ve got a couple of wildcard floaters in there.
“They’ve got the job ahead of them.”
“The Cats’ best could see them in the top four, their worst could see them dropping games to Sydney, Melbourne maybe, Richmond, Hawthorn, so they’ve got a tough run home,” he said.
Lyon predicts one change will be made to the current top eight by the end of Round 23, with Hawthorn the only side capable of making the leap in.
“I think there might be one that could come in, and for me I think that’s Hawthorn,” he said.
“I don’t think Adelaide can, not with the way their injuries have set themselves up, and I think with Jeremy Cameron’s suspension, I don’t think the GWS Giants are going to be in the argument.
“I’m putting a line through Essendon – they may prove me wrong, their form suggests that they should be legitimately in the argument, but I think they might be leaving it too late.”
However, Bombers legend Tim Watson says the teams currently in the top eight- Richmond, Sydney, West Coast, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Melbourne, Geelong and North Melbourne- will all still be there come finals time.
“I don’t see it changing from now on,” he said.
Originally published on SEN.com.au