Early in the season of the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership competition, the Essendon Bombers are showing promising signs of having finally shaken off the harsh reality of last season, which saw them trying to make do with old men and cast offs they found lying about when the AFL permitted them to top up in order to be able to field a side.

The Dons currently reside on the sixth rung, a vast improvement from last year.

That reversal of fortune has not been the reality for the Fremantle Dockers, however, as they continue to dwell at the bottom, carrying on the plunge that befell them last year after they seriously contended for the flag in 2015.

The Richmond Tigers and the Melbourne Demons are similarly out of the barrier in fine form this season.

Were the finals to start today, neither of the Sydney franchises that figured so prominently in last year’s finals would be in the top eight.

The true surprise in the whole affair, however, would appear to be the Port Adelaide Power, who find themselves atop the ladder, ahead of their cross-town rivals, the Crows.

It is still too early in the season to make any sort of objective predictions, but for those who like to view the league from afar, it is certainly refreshing to see things in a new order, rather than any sort of predictable rut.