Brandan Parfitt celebrates a goal for Geelong against Brisbane in R6, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

IN THIS week's Things We Learned, we discover a pair of dumped Dogs still have plenty to offer, a young Bomber is in top form plus much, much more.

Check out what we learned from round six of the 2024 season.


1) Carlton's twin towers are now a triple threat

Just in case the Blues' forward line wasn't dangerous enough with three Coleman medals between Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay, a third tall has been successfully added to the mix. Turning 25 this year, Tom De Koning is coming into his prime. Carlton started the year with De Koning as sole ruck but the return of Marc Pittonet in the past few weeks has allowed De Koning to spend more time in attack. He was outstanding against Greater Western Sydney on Saturday, proving to be one tall too many to cover, booting three goals from his 15 touches and also recording 16 hitouts and three clearances – Sarah Black


2) Different approach, same massive impact for Bobby

Sharing is caring. Bobby Hill carved his name into history at the MCG last September when he became a Norm Smith Medallist, but this was different for the small forward. The goal sneak turned provider against Port Adelaide on Saturday, registering a career-high four goal assists to finish with 10 score involvements and 15 touches. And it was the way he did it that would please the Pies the most. Three times he dished the ball over the top of an opponent to an unmarked teammate in the goal square, rather than kicking the goal himself. It gave Lachie Schultz a much needed lick of the ice cream and young key forward Reef McInnes a moment to savour late. The selfless individual performance was symbolic on a day where Collingwood showed they aren't done yet. - Josh Gabelich


3) Dumped Dogs still have plenty of bite

A couple of experienced Bulldogs have had rockier starts to 2024 than they would have liked but in the club's big win over St Kilda on Thursday, both Jack Macrae and Bailey Dale proved they're still a force. Macrae, who spent the opening fortnight of the season in the VFL, and Dale, who started as the substitute in round five, were immense. Offering a crucial link into attack, Macrae notched up a game-high 12 score involvements thanks to his six inside 50s from 30 disposals, while also kicking a goal of his own. At the other end of the ground, Dale looked at home working out of the backline, gathering a game-high 39 disposals, 15 marks and 867 metres gained. Playing with confidence in roles that lean on their best assets, the duo look to have once again established themselves in the first-choice side after being on the outer to start the year. - Gemma Bastiani

Jack Macrae evades a tackles in the Western Bulldogs' win over St Kilda in R6, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

4) The young Eagles are loving a simple game plan

There's no secret to what West Coast is trying to do in 2024 with a stripped back game style based on pressure, contest and front-half footy. The surprise, however, is how quickly it has clicked, resulting in brilliant back-to-back wins after a worrying start to the year. Young star Harley Reid captured the Eagles' style perfectly against Fremantle on Saturday night. He applied pressure (22 pressure acts, three short of Jamie Cripps' game-high), won his contests (13 contested possessions and a game-high 10 groundballs) and always looked to go forward, frequently driving out of contests and either kicking long or forward handballing to advantage. It was a thrilling performance from the teenage star and a brilliant team win. The young Eagles have clarity in what they want to do, and the simple style suits them. It will trouble more teams than just Richmond and Fremantle in the coming months. – Nathan Schmook


5) The young Cats midfield is on the rise

Prior to the season, the biggest question mark over a Geelong climb up the ladder was around its unproven midfield and Saturday night's win over Brisbane continued to quell any fears about that. Up against seasoned campaigners Lachie Neale, Josh Dunkley and Hugh McCluggage, Chris Scott's men more than held their own. Alongside Patrick Dangerfield, who returned strongly after missing a couple of weeks with a hamstring problem, it was youngster Tanner Bruhn and the ever-improving Brandan Parfitt who did most of the work. Bruhn gathered 21 disposals, including seven clearances and nine tackles, while Parfitt also had seven clearances in his 17 touches. The Cats were even at the stoppages, with Mark O'Connor shadowing Neale to add a defensive element, and their speed and quick transition did the rest. – Michael Whiting


6) This Bomber is starting to live up to the hype

He's come under fire for failing to live up to his potential, but Harry Jones finally looks to have got his body right and is beginning to show signs of being the player Bombers fans have been hoping he'll be. Injuries restricted Jones to just five games in 2023, a number he's already equalled in 2024, and his forward pressure and relentless effort against the Crows showed just how important he'll be to the Bombers' future success. Things looked grim for the Bombers after the Crows kicked seven goals in a row on Friday night, but it was Jones who kick-started the fightback. He crumbed and kicked a goal of his own, set up Kyle Langford to kick the next and then flew with the flight to create a contest, which led to another Langford goal and gave the Bombers the lead back just before the final change. Jones finished the night with seven score involvements and two goals. In the absence of Peter Wright, Jones has stepped up alongside Langford, kicking seven goals across four games. The question will be how he performs when Wright returns from suspension next week. – Sophie Welsh

Harry Jones, Zach Merrett and Kyle Langford celebrate a goal for Essendon against Adelaide in R6, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

7) Taylor Adams adds more than just depth to Sydney's midfield

Sydney has moved Isaac Heeney into the midfield with great success in the absence of Callum Mills and Luke Parker, but the Swans were always likely to need more reinforcements against Gold Coast's formidable on-ball brigade. Taylor Adams was the first player to step up while showing the value he can bring around the coalface with a devastating opening term that set the tone in his second match for his third club. The 30-year-old gathered 10 disposals, including nine contested, in the first quarter as the Swans made a scintillating start. Adams later spent plenty of time at half-forward and finished with 20 touches, but made it clear when the match was on the line that he can add more than just depth to the Swans' midfield, even when they are at full-strength later in the year. - Martin Pegan

Taylor Adams gets a kick away in Sydney's win over Gold Coast in R6, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

8) Pressure is rising on Clarkson to make Sheezel move

Alastair Clarkson's main lament from the first half on Sunday was his side's inability to get their hands on the ball, which will only ramp up the pressure on him to move Harry Sheezel into the midfield. Sheezel, last year's Rising Star winner, has been prolific off half back all season and picked up another 26 touches playing predominantly in defence in the loss to Hawthorn on Sunday to move to 198 for the year, the most of any player in the competition. After a winless start to the year, the calls for Clarkson to put Sheezel on the ball will only intensify. He's held firm for six weeks so far, but how much longer? - Martin Smith

Harry Sheezel during North Melbourne's game against Hawthorn in R6, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos