Every club cops injuries.
Strong teams absorb the pain, while the weak feel the hurt factor.
Greater Western Sydney and Richmond have been cruelled after losing stars, yet remain genuine flag contenders.
Carlton, on the other hand, has spiralled to a 1-10 start and former coach Brendon Bolton paid the heaviest of professional prices.
Meanwhile, feelgood story Brisbane has ridden a charmed run on the medical front to be pushing the top four.
Melbourne's alibi as the most injury-hit side – compounding an off-season of surgeries – comes with a rider, and the Bulldogs' season so far can't be blamed on losing key players.
That's all according to the mid-season injury ladder that comes with a twist.
Instead of simply ordering clubs on the amount of games lost to player unavailability, each team has also been ranked in terms of the quality of names stuck on the sidelines.
The Bulldogs have been without the likes of AFL regulars Dale Morris, Jason Johannisen, Taylor Duryea and Matt Suckling at stages this season, with Mitch Wallis and Hayden Crozier injured in recent weeks – plus the retirements of Liam Picken and Tom Boyd.
Applying a formula, the AFL's official statisticians Champion Data have estimated a scoreboard impact to every team's injury list – and the Giants have the unwanted pole position.
Leon Cameron's men only rank 13th for total games lost, but their injury cost is No.1, equating to four goals per match (267 points in 11 rounds).
In another nightmare run on the injury front, A-graders Toby Greene (calf), Josh Kelly (hip), Callan Ward (knee), Phil Davis (ankle), Lachie Whitfield (thigh) and Stephen Coniglio (finger) have all battled ailments.
Ward won't return this year after rupturing his ACL in round three, and Whitfield is now gone for at least a month with a broken collarbone.
The hits keep coming but, in an ominous sign for the competition, the Giants have powered their way to second spot on the ladder.
Before a shock loss to North Melbourne last Friday night, the Tigers had won six of seven and sat in fourth spot.
That's despite leaders Trent Cotchin (hamstring), Alex Rance (ACL) and Jack Riewoldt (knee/wrist) being counted among the casualty ward.
Richmond has been three goals a game worse off (197 points this season) due to injuries, according to Champion Data, the same as Carlton.
The battling Blues just haven't had the depth to cover the likes of co-captain Sam Docherty (ACL in pre-season), Matthew Kreuzer (knee), Kade Simpson (hamstring) and Liam Jones (concussion).
Carlton and Brisbane's rebuilds have been poles apart, and right now Chris Fagan's exciting Lions are also reaping the benefits of a healthy list.
They have lost just 44 games to injury – easily the fewest in the AFL – and their scoreboard cost is just 34 points in total, a whopping 233 points fewer than GWS.
The Lions are perfectly positioned to break their 10-year finals drought, with just four players currently sidelined.
Only Adelaide, which could be picking from a full squad except Tom Doedee (ACL) this weekend, is currently faring better.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Demons have been hammered by the League's worst injury list.
However, it has only cost them roughly eight points per match (92 in 11 games) during a season from hell for Simon Goodwin's men.
The AFL injury ladder after round 11
All Injuries (games lost)
Injury Cost (scoreboard points)