Will Day during Hawthorn's game against Richmond in R14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

IN THIS week's Things We Learned, we discover a move of necessity has sparked Brisbane's season, Hawthorn's surge is being spurred by one man and much, much more.

Check out what we learned from round 14 of the 2024 season.


1) No doubt about it, Brodie Grundy is recruit of the year

Sydney's off-season acquisition of Brodie Grundy has proven to be a shrewd move, with the two-time All-Australian putting on yet another ruck masterclass in the Swans' 42-point win over Adelaide. While Joel Amartey will be rightly lauded for his nine-goal haul in the win, Grundy's tireless efforts around the ground cannot be understated. He absolutely monstered Kieran Strachan in the ruck, winning the hitout count 49-16, but it was his follow-up work that was equally as important. He finished with 31 disposals and nine clearances, effectively turning him into another midfielder once the ball hit the ground. The 30-year-old's addition to the Swans' top-tier midfield has been one of the catalysts for their ascension to the top of the table this season, and with the Swans giving up just pick No.46 and a future second-rounder to acquire him, they've got the recruit of the year for an absolute steal. Ben McKay, James Jordon and Massimo D'Ambrosio have also been strong at their new clubs, but none have been as good as Grundy. - Alison O'Connor

Brodie Grundy and Kieran Strachan compete in the ruck during the R14 match between Sydney and Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on June 15, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

2) Dayne Zorko has helped revive Brisbane's season

It was almost a move of necessity, but Dayne Zorko's shift to half-back early in the season continues to reap incredible results. Keidean Coleman's ruptured ACL in Opening Round against Carlton took out one of the Lions' most important players for the year, but at the age of 35, Zorko has moved back and played some of the best football of his decorated career. He had another 30 disposals against St Kilda, including a match-high 13 intercepts, and was again a catalyst for victory. Zorko is well on track for a staggering sixth best and fairest win if he keeps this level of play rolling. – Michael Whiting

Dayne Zorko celebrates with fans during Brisbane's clash against St Kilda in round 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

3) Lachie Schultz is starting to deliver

The critics have come for Lachie Schultz in his first season at Collingwood. He hasn't quite reached the heights he set at Fremantle and given he cost a first-round pick, expectations from the Magpie Army were high. But internally, the Pies have lauded his defensive work and what he has added structurally during a period where the club has lost so many forwards to injury. On Sunday against North Melbourne, the 26-year-old finally got a lick of the ice cream in front of goal and showed just how important he can be when the whips start cracking. Schultz finished with four majors and should have kicked a fifth, finishing with seven score involvements in a performance that also exhibited his toughness. Alongside Bobby Hill, the pair who stand 178cm and 175cm combined for nine goals to pinch victory from the jaws of defeat. - Josh Gabelich

Lachie Schultz celebrates a goal for Collingwood against North Melbourne in R14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

4) Will Day has been key to Hawthorn's surge

Hawthorn's 2023 best and fairest winner had a tough start to the year, missing the first six games with a foot injury, but has been a game changer since returning to the side. Since Day's inclusion, the Hawks have won six of eight games and sit just two points out of the top eight as they head into the bye after Saturday's big win over Richmond. The Hawks' performance around stoppages has been key to the turnaround. Averaging 27.3 points from stoppage without Day, scores from the contest have increased to 34.1 since his return. While Day's individual numbers aren't world beating, averaging 4.4 clearances and 23.4 disposals, the polish and leadership he brings to the line has completely changed Hawthorn's fortunes. – Gemma Bastiani

Will Day evades Dustin Martin during the match between Richmond and Hawthorn at the MCG in round 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

5) This goalsneak could be the midfielder GWS needs

The Giants have long had a star-studded midfield packed with talented high-end draft picks, but arguably can lack a defensive focus at times, especially as veteran Callan Ward enters the twilight of his career. That was until goalsneak Toby Bedford did his best to grasp a new role as he excelled as a surprise tagger to nullify Power playmaker Zak Butters on Sunday. Bedford went straight to Butters at the opening bounce and rarely left his side while limiting the Power vice-captain to only 17 disposals, his equal lowest tally in two years, while the Giant had 16 touches and a goal himself. With Butters under Bedford's watch and Port skipper Connor Rozee below his best, the Giants' midfield was able to run away with a crucial victory thanks to a perfectly balanced group, including their new 'recruit' from the forward line. - Martin Pegan

Toby Bedford during GWS's game against Port Adelaide in R14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

6) Fremantle has a bye issue

In Justin Longmuir's post-match press conference after his side's thrashing of Melbourne, he flagged that byes had been an issue in the past and he was eager not to fall in the same trap. Despite his proactiveness, the Dockers were once again a step off the pace against the Western Bulldogs following their week off, with the Dogs kicking 2.2 from their first five inside 50s as the normally stingy and disciplined purple defence looked a step off the pace. The eventual 67-point thumping loss was the third time in the past three years Fremantle has lost off the bye, going down to Richmond at Optus Stadium by 15 last year and Carlton by 31 at Marvel Stadium in 2022. – Sarah Black

Fremantle players look dejected after their loss to the Western Bulldogs in round 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos