1. Dylan Grimes is the best one-on-one defender in the competition

Tom Lynch was superb, kicking six goals, but Grimes was just as important in getting an undermanned Richmond across the line against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Saturday. Grimes had 17 disposals, 13 of them contested, to go with five contested marks and six rebound 50s. The 27-year-old finally received recognition last year when he was named in the 40-man All Australian squad for the first time. With Alex Rance sidelined for the year, Grimes is standing up and taking a leading role in the Tigers' defence. Grimes rarely gets beaten one-on-one and stands up when it matters the most. - Lee Gaskin

BARRETT'S MARGIN CALL Superstar Cat plays a dangerous game

2. Collingwood needs to find a way to make the most of Grundy's ruck dominance

For whatever reason, Collingwood's much-vaunted midfield has lacked balance across the first month of the season. They found that equilibrium in the final quarter of Friday night's game against the Western Bulldogs, but smoothing out the midfield/ruck connection is something that should be high on Nathan Buckley's agenda. Brodie Grundy was absolutely dominant in ruck contests opposed to young big man Tim English, with the hitout count reading 26-3 at half-time. However, the clearances fell in the Bulldogs' favour (14-11). The Magpies gained the ascendancy through that area of the ground the longer the contest went on, but – even with Dayne Beams a late withdrawal through illness – they could have done it sooner. Buckley said after the game the onus is not just on the inside midfielders, but on the outside midfielders and the Magpies count their "high backs" (defenders who play further up the ground) and "high forwards" (forwards who push up the ground) in that mix of 10-12 midfielders. If the Magpies can find that cohesion quickly, they will be a far better unit than the one we've seen in the first four weeks of the season. - Ben Guthrie

3. Melbourne shakes off a big, Buddy curse

Heading into the round four clash at the SCG, Sydney superstar Lance Franklin had a perfect record against the Dees. He'd faced the red and blue 15 times since he debuted for Hawthorn (against the Swans) in the season opener of 2005, and had always sung the team song after the game. Sam Frost did a serviceable job on Franklin, although Buddy's influence on the game could have been crucial if not for some poor finishing (1.3, plus some shots that failed to make the distance) and a rare off night with his decision-making going inside 50. The Demons won't care about their record against the modern-day great; many would not even know about it. The important thing is, this tough road win, after a woeful start to the year, can ignite Melbourne's season. – Adam Curley

4. The Giants can cover the loss of Ward

Callan Ward has been a warrior for the Giants and he probably will be again, once he returns from the ACL injury he suffered early against Geelong on Saturday. If the GWS boys ever doubt their ability to cope without their inspirational co-skipper, they only need to watch the last three quarters of their stirring four-point win at the Cattery. They were a man down – and an excellent midfielder and leader at that – and they were dominated in the opening term, yet they turned the game on its head by reversing that midfield trend. Giants jets Lachie Whitfield (31 possessions), Stephen Coniglio (34), Jacob Hopper (31), Josh Kelly (32) and Tim Taranto (28) left big names such as Patrick Dangerfield (17) and Tim Kelly (nine) in the shade and bolstered hopes they'll manage without Ward. - Ben Collins

FROM THE TWOS Gibbs among big names to fire

5. Forgotten face provides the forward structure

Joe Daniher may be on the cusp of returning to Essendon's side, but Mitch Brown's performance on Saturday will give John Worsfold something to ponder. Without Daniher, and Shaun McKernan through injury, and James Stewart underdone, Brown returned to the fold against Brisbane and provided the side with important structure going forward. Credited by Worsfold for his elite endurance base after the game, Brown showed that work ethic to push higher up the field and win 25 disposals from 11 marks. But he worked just as hard back to goal, finishing with three majors. His ability to provide the link between Essendon's midfield allowed Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Jake Stringer isolation deeper forward, with Worsfold now hopeful that the 28-year-old will start finding some consistency to retain his place in the side. - Riley Beveridge

6. Age is not wearying David Mundy

He turns 34 in July, but the evergreen Fremantle veteran is motoring towards the 300-game milestone in two weeks still very close to the peak of his powers. With no Nat Fyfe in Saturday night's Western Derby, most expected Michael Walters would need to produce a blinder for the Dockers' engine room to compete with West Coast. But instead it was Mundy who almost willed Freo to a massive boilover, racking up 36 disposals, 23 contested possessions, with 10 clearances and four inside 50s. It was vintage stuff from the 2010 Doig medallist and 2015 All Australian. Mundy might not be producing nearly 30 disposals on a weekly basis anymore, but every touch is still class and you wouldn't bet against him going on for a 16th campaign next year. - Travis King

David Mundy remains the heart and soul of Fremantle's engine room. Picture: AFL Photos

7. Kangaroos and Wood need each other

The tantalising talent that is Mason Wood made his return to the AFL scene on Saturday night, one week after calf awareness kept him to less than a half in the VFL. Injury is the story of Wood's career to date, but he and North Melbourne need each other. Don't buy into the narrative that Jarrad Waite should still be on the Roos' list – it was time for them to move on and see what their younger crop could do. Ben Brown needs help, but he'll need that for six or seven years to come. Wood and Nick Larkey should be first in line to provide that support, especially after back-up ruckman Tom Campbell struggled in that role in rounds two and three. It's no coincidence Brown had his best game this season with the athletic Wood alongside him. Larkey might have to wait a bit longer, because the terrier-like trio of Kayne Turner, Cam Zurhaar and Tarryn Thomas worked a treat defensively, too. - Marc McGowan

8. Surely this is the week for Sam Walsh

After three excellent games to start his AFL career, surely Carlton's No.1 draft pick gets his Rising Star nomination this week after another stellar showing against the Suns. In a game riddled by poor decision-making and skill errors, Sam Walsh shone like a beacon, finishing with 28 disposals at 79 percent efficiency and booting a goal for good measure. Beyond the poise and the numbers, he showed courage in the third quarter beyond his 18 years. After taking a strong mark at half-forward, Walsh had to withstand a late, clumsy challenge from monster Gold Coast captain Jarrod Witts that earned the young Blue a 50m penalty. Of little surprise to anyone, Walsh calmly slotted his second career major from 25m to give his side some breathing space that didn't quite last until the final siren. - Michael Whiting

FANTASY FORM WATCH Blues skipper enters beast mode

Sam Walsh is collected by Jarrod Witts during the Blues' narrow loss. Picture: Chris Hyde, Getty Images/AFL Photos

9. Hawthorn's injuries might have revitalised Roughead

The former captain certainly wouldn't like to see his teammates sidelined but he used the scenario to his advantage and showed there is life left in his old legs. The Hawks fielded a bare-bones midfield against St Kilda on Sunday, with Jaeger O'Meara (left hip corkie) joining hamstrung duo Shaun Burgoyne and Liam Shiels as absentees, while Tom Mitchell has nursed a broken left leg since the pre-season. Those blows came to an onball unit that hasn't been flush with depth for a while, so coach Alastair Clarkson was forced to rotate his versatile forwards through there, particularly in the opening term, and 32-year-old Roughead delivered with eight disposals in that term, including two score assists. It wasn't a performance free of blemishes, with some dropped marks, but when the four-time premiership player floated in to take a grab among three Saints and extend his side's advantage to 26 in the third term, he emphatically hit back at the doubters who thought he was done. - Dinny Navaratnam

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