Adelaide continued its relentless run at the top of the table, edging a combative Essendon as West Coast battled to a gritty win over Carlton at Subiaco Oval.
The Sydney Swans absolutely thrashed a listless Fremantle, while Geelong edged the Tigers by 14 points, before the Lions claimed state bragging rights with a big win over the Suns.
Crows power past Essendon despite Bombers' surges
Adelaide has left Essendon's AFL finals hopes in tatters, downing the Bombers by 43 points in a Docklands shootout.
The top-of-the-ladder Crows led at every break on Saturday night and survived a Cale Hooker-inspired Bombers comeback to post an 18.15 (123) to 12.8 (80) victory.
Gun forwards Josh Jenkins and Mitch McGovern booted three goals apiece while Matt Crouch (35 disposals, seven clearances) was dominant in the middle.
Adelaide had powered its way to a comfortable lead before Hooker turned the game with a huge second half.
The reinvented key forward booted two goals in quick succession midway through the third quarter to rouse the crowd from their slumber.
Former skipper Jobe Watson, who earlier in the week announced he would retire at the end of the season, brought the house down moments later when he kicked truly on the run.
Hooker then booted a 55m goal — his fourth for the night — to cut the margin to 19 points and give the Bombers hope of a miracle comeback.
But the clinical Crows had all the answers, snatching the momentum back with goals to Smith and Jenkins on the verge of three-quarter time.
Jenkins proved the chief destroyer for the Crows in the final quarter, adding two more majors to his tally to put the result beyond doubt.
There were positives for the Bombers despite the result, with Hooker and excitement machine Joe Daniher combining for seven goals.
Top draft pick Andrew McGrath meanwhile achieved the rare feat of holding Crows genius Eddie Betts goalless in an excellent shutdown role.
But in a game where both sides didn't hesitate to take the game on, the clinical Crows were too polished and too potent up forward.
The result leaves the Crows six points clear of second-placed Greater Western Sydney, with a home final virtually guaranteed.
Essendon will finish the round outside of the top eight with just two games remaining.
The Bombers will start favourites against Gold Coast (away) and Fremantle (home) but even if they win both games, it may not be enough to secure a finals berth.
West Coast edge Blues in nervy contest
Star forward Josh Kennedy has booted six goals to help West Coast overcome a major scare and beat Carlton by 17 points at Subiaco Oval.
The Eagles appeared set for an easy victory after opening up a 35-point lead late in the second quarter.
But aided by a strong breeze, Carlton booted the next six goals to open up a shock six-point advantage.
A Kennedy goal just before three-quarter time settled West Coast's nerves, and the Eagles kicked five goals to three in the final quarter to secure the 15.10 (100) to 12.11 (83) win in front of 30,491 fans.
Kennedy's haul of 6.3 catapulted him to the top of the Coleman medal race with 60 goals, an even more-impressive achievement given he missed five games with a calf injury.
Essendon's Joe Daniher sits second with 59.
The victory lifts West Coast (11-9) into seventh spot on the table ahead of tough matches against flag fancies GWS (away) and Adelaide (home).
The Eagles will need to win at least one of those to have a chance of reaching the finals, with percentage set to play a critical role in the eventual make-up of the top eight.
Carlton (5-15) is just 5.3 per cent ahead of the last-placed Lions, who thrashed Gold Coast earlier on Saturday at the Gabba.
The Blues dominated the inside 50m count 32-17 in the opening half, but failed to convert their opportunities.
Three goals to Eagles forward Jamie Cripps gave them a three-point edge at quarter-time, and Kennedy blew the game apart in the second term with three goals.
Carlton was left to rue a series of missed set shots. Levi Casboult marked inside 50m on the stroke of half-time, only to kick it to a teammate as the siren sounded.
The game turned on its head in the third quarter as Carlton surged with the wind.
Youngster Jack Silvagni missed a sitter from just 20m out, but he made up for it with two goals for the term.
And when Blaine Boekhorst kicked truly late in the term, Carlton were up by six points and a boilover loomed.
But the Eagles had two things in their favour — Kennedy up forward, and a gale-force breeze to kick with in the last quarter.
Both factors proved pivotal, with Kennedy adding two more goals to his tally to keep West Coast's finals hopes alive.
Lions surge past dispirited Suns in Q-Clash
Different coach, same result for the besieged Gold Coast AFL club.
Brisbane took a step towards avoiding the wooden spoon with a thumping 58-point home win as an injury-hit Suns began life after sacked coach Rodney Eade just like it ended — with another loss.
Usually a team is never more dangerous than in its first game with a new coach. But, there was no rebound factor under interim Suns mentor Dean Solomon despite some encouraging early signs at the Gabba.
Gold Coast began full of energy to lead by 22 points in the second term after four-goal hero Jack Martin cut loose but hit the wall in the second half.
Lions skipper Dayne Beams (four goals, 32 touches) stood tall during the early Suns onslaught before sparking Brisbane's brutal response in front of 17,772 Gabba fans.
In the end, Brisbane ran out 22.10 (142) to 12.12 (84) winners with Tom Rockliff (24 touches) and Jake Barrett both kicking three goals.
Beams kicked a steadying goal as Gold Coast cruised to a 21-point lead at the first break before booting his second to help Brisbane grab the lead for the first time on the stroke of half-time — 9.4 (58) to 8.9 (57).
Brisbane never looked back, boosting their hopes of dodging the wooden spoon.
The Lions (5-15 tally) are on 20 points along with Carlton and North Melbourne, but have played an extra game.
They finish their season against Melbourne (away) and North Melbourne (home).
Gold Coast was always going to struggle without Pearce Hanley (hamstring), Gary Ablett (hamstring) and Tom Lynch (knee), but Solomon would have hoped for some more fight after the Suns sacked Eade on Monday night.
Brisbane leads the Queensland derby tally 9-5.
Martin cut loose to kick three goals in four minutes and help Gold Coast grab a 6.5 (41) to 3.2 (20) first-quarter lead.
Beams stood up and midfielder Lewis Taylor (25 touches, two goals) took charge as Brisbane hit back to edge the visitors by one point at half-time.
The Suns ran out of gas in the third term as the Lions banged home six unanswered goals to grab a commanding 33-point lead at the final break.
Swans pummel miserable Dockers
Lance Franklin has bounced back to form, with Sydney cruising to a massive 104-point AFL win over Fremantle at the SCG.
Franklin kicked just one goal in each of his past two games but booted four on Saturday afternoon, all in the first half, to help the Swans to a 22.11 (143) to 5.9 (39) victory.
The result was never in doubt, as Sydney kicked 16 of the first 17 goals in front of a season-high home crowd of 39,281.
It is Sydney's highest score of the season and its biggest winning margin.
It is also the Swans' 12th win in their past 14 games and keeps them in contention for a top-four spot.
Seven Sydney players kicked two or more goals with 12 bagging at least one major.
The Swans' relentless pressure proved too much for a Fremantle side who could not match the home team's hunger or work rate. The Dockers crashed to their equal sixth-biggest loss.
Luke Parker contributed 29 possessions and three goals for Sydney, who kicked eight goals in the first quarter and brought up their century six minutes into the second half.
Down by 75 points at half-time, by which time they had only kicked one goal, Fremantle improved marginally in the second half.
The only injury concern for Sydney was defender Nic Newman, who limped off the ground.
Geelong holds off fighting Tigers
Geelong swingman Harry Taylor has spearheaded an upset 14-point win over Richmond that puts the Cats into third on the AFL ladder with two games left.
Taylor fittingly kicked the last goal of the game, his fourth, as Geelong won 11.14 (80) to 9.12 (66) at Kardinia Park.
With full-forward Tom Hawkins suspended, Taylor played a great game on Alex Rance — surely this season's All-Australian full-back.
Taylor made sure Rance stayed accountable and the Cats were able to unsettle the Richmond defence, until Saturday the best-performed in the league this season.
Cats star Patrick Dangerfield returned from suspension to rack up a game-high 30 possessions and was prominent in the frantic last quarter, when Geelong kicked three goals to two.
Steven Motlop made a strong return to form after returning from a fortnight out and also kicked a last-quarter goal for the Cats.
Apart from Hawkins, the Cats also had lost captain Joel Selwood to an ankle injury and Mitch Duncan was suspended.
It meant Richmond started favourite, but instead it lost its 13th-straight game against the Cats.
Richmond and Geelong swapped spots on the ladder, with the Tigers dropping to fourth.
The Tigers drew first blood, kicking the opening two goals inside five minutes with the aid of a stiff breeze.
But the Cats settled quickly and only trailled by two points at quarter-time.
Former Cat Josh Caddy was forced out of the game late in the first quarter with a hamstring injury after kicking the opening goal.
With Taylor having the better of Rance and Motlop showing a much-needed return to form, Geelong took control in the second term.
They kicked five goals to one and led by a game-high 28 points early in the third.
But four-straight behinds kept the door open for Richmond and the Tigers showed why they are in the top four with a big rally.
Richmond kicked the only four goals of the third quarter to trail by just six points at the last break.
Midfielder Dion Prestia had 29 disposals for the Tigers and fellow midfielders Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin also were prominent.