1. That Dusty bloke goes all right ... and so does the next one
It’s a long season, and if the Tigers have their way, they’ll be playing until deep into September, so if the opportunity comes to give Dustin Martin a relative breather in a one-sided and, let’s face it, bruise-free encounter, why not grab it with both hands. That’s what Richmond did at the MCG on Saturday, allowing their superstar to spend much more time in the forward line. The stats sheet shows just 17 touches but then if you keep scrolling right you’ll see the goals column and the figure ‘6’. It was a personal best for Martin and he was the clear standout in an otherwise dreary and non-competitive afternoon. What a weapon he is for the Tigers. One of the very few shining lights for the Lions was Cameron Rayner, the No.1 draft pick last November, who has been likened to Martin. He won 22 possessions - 12 contested - and kept presenting on a dirty day. He’ll remember Saturday and use the disappointment and the lessons learned as part of his development. He has a huge upside. - Ashley Browne

DUSTY'S DAY OUT: Watch Martin torch the Lions

2. John Worsfold wins the Captain Obvious award
Because playing players in their actual positions actually worked. The Power knew it was coming; Cale Hooker trained with the defenders this week and Jake Stringer with the forwards, and both players lined up in their more familiar positions after spending the opening three rounds in attack and the midfield respectively. Hooker was solid down back and allowed Michael Hurley more room to be creative and take a game-high 15 marks, while Stringer booted four goals in his best game as a Bomber to lead his new club to a 22-point win. Sometimes, the most obvious answer is the best. - Jennifer Phelan

FANTASY FORM WATCH: Athletic Eagle back to his best

3. Hawthorn is not a one-man midfield band
Tom Mitchell, by his own incredibly lofty standards, didn't have his most influential day on Sunday at the MCG. Melbourne put plenty of work into stopping the on-ball gun after three consecutive weeks of 40 or more disposals. He had 24 (and a more than handy 13 clearances) in his side's big win over the Demons, but the Hawks had others step up. Liam Shiels was immense with 31 disposals, eight clearances and 14 tackles, Jaeger O'Meara was again excellent with a tidy 26 touches and Isaac Smith did his bit with 22 and two goals. The Hawks showed you can stop Mitchell, but they don't stop there.

Jaeger O'Meara looked back to something near his best. Picture: AFL Photos

4. Bolton refuses to blink
Even in the wake of a tremendous thumping against North Melbourne on Saturday, Brendon Bolton professes a "rock solid" belief in his plans for Carlton. And while he seems intent on staring down any outside scrutiny of his rebuild strategy, the third-year coach will unquestionably feel the pressure build with every loss – and right now it's hard to know where the Blues' next win is coming from. With just 30 points against the Roos, the Blues haven't met their stated aim for 2018 of increasing offensive output. Even more troubling for Bolton, perhaps, is the collapse of their previously solid "defensive action" in leaking 18 goals against North. By keeping the faith in his plans, Bolton obviously believes the Blues will eventually turn the corner. For the coach's sake, that corner surely needs to come sooner than later. - Stu Warren

FROM THE TWOS: Tough Saint, big Dog press their claims

5. Marvellous Macrae warrants attention
Western Bulldog Jack Macrae's name rarely comes up in conversations about the game's best onballers, and Marcus Bontempelli even overshadows him at his own club. But it is well overdue to recognise this 23-year-old premiership star for what he is: an elite midfielder. Macrae's possession tallies in his past six matches, dating to last season, are 34, 30, 31, 31, 33 and 41 – and he last had fewer than 20 in a game in the 2015 finals. Don't let his slightly awkward kicking style confuse you, either. Macrae's disposal efficiency of 77.8 per cent ranks fifth among the competition's top-20 ball-winners this year. The No.6 draft pick from 2012 is also averaging 8.8 score involvements, six inside 50s, five clearances and four tackles. - Marc McGowan

6. Tim Taranto is emerging from the shadows of his high-profile teammates
When Greater Western Sydney's premiership chances are spoken about the names Josh Kelly, Toby Greene, Stephen Coniglio, Jeremy Cameron and Phil Davis are always mentioned. They're stars of the competition, but if GWS does manage to make its first Grand Final this year, you can bet Taranto will have a big influence. Yes, he's only 20 years old and from the outside his work across half-forward and around stoppages goes largely unnoticed, but he plays a vital role. The 2016 No.2 draft pick loves contested footy and led the team for clearances (six) and tackles (11) against Fremantle, and he's an important link player because of his ability to get up the ground and work back towards goal. Taranto would have given the NAB AFL Rising Star award a real shake if not for a serious ankle injury last year, and coach Leon Cameron showed just how highly he rates him when he brought the first-year forward in for the Giants second final, after he hadn't played seniors since round 14. His teammates will continue to get the attention but if you dig beyond the stats sheet, Taranto is becoming a very good player at the top level. - Adam Curley

WATCH: Taranto's smart finish

7. Daniel Menzel might be 2018's biggest bargain
There will be recruiters across the country scratching their heads as to how Daniel Menzel is still wearing blue and white. It was only 178 days ago that Menzel left the 2017 NAB AFL Trade Period out of contract, no rival clubs wanting to stump up two-year deal after four knee reconstructions. Instead, the 26-year-old recommitted on a bargain-basement deal and has been Geelong's most dangerous forward to start 2018. Menzel kicked five goals on Sunday, including four consecutive in the first half to take his season tally to 14 and sit third in the race for the Coleman Medal. As Tom Hawkins struggles for form in the first month of the season, Menzel's manager Adam Ramanauskas might be picking up the phone on Monday to Geelong list boss Stephen Wells. - Mitch Cleary

WATCH: Dan's the man from the boundary line

8. Gold Coast needs to show some fight to keep Tom Lynch
The homeless Suns could offer up excuses for Saturday night's abject loss to West Coast, but the harsh reality is none of them will help convince free agent Tom Lynch to stay. The star forward is carefully considering his future and the performances of Stuart Dew's outfit will be a key factor in his decision. There were promising signs in the opening two rounds, however a disappointing effort against Fremantle was followed by an embarrassing 80-point hammering against the Eagles and, with reported suitor Richmond revealing it has a war chest to chase a big name, Lynch must be wondering where his best chances of success lie. The Sorrento product turns 26 in October and a rare talent like Lynch deserves to be playing on the biggest stage in September. It's up to the Suns to turn things around quickly and convince the co-captain he should re-sign because, right now, their case is hardly compelling. - Travis King  

9. Magpies finding different avenues to goal
Last week, it was Josh Thomas booting five goals against Carlton. This time, it was Jaidyn Stephenson kicking five in a 48-point thumping of last season's runners-up Adelaide. Mason Cox had one of the best games for a player with five disposals you will see. The big American constantly blocked and provided space for Stephenson and the other small forwards to run in to. The Magpies may not have a traditional forward set-up, but it's working an absolute treat. - Lee Gaskin

WATCH: Stephenson nails his third