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Nine things we learned: Rozee joins Walsh in Rising Star race

The 10: round six's best moments What will be number one?
1. Rozee joins Walsh in genuine Rising Star battle

Port Adelaide's Connor Rozee is now neck and neck with Carlton young gun Sam Walsh for the NAB AFL Rising Star award. Rozee – last year's No.5 overall pick - is special. He's got an explosive X-factor about him with the ability to change a game off his own boot. Friday night's 16-point win against North Melbourne was a prime example. Not often you see a 19-year-old, in his sixth senior game, shake off two defenders inside the attacking 50, and then have the poise to hit a teammate up with a perfect pass to set up a certain goal. Rozee's spectacular mark was the icing on the cake. He finished with 22 disposals, four inside 50s and a goal, impressive numbers for an athletic half-forward who is only going to get better the longer the season goes. - Lee Gaskin

 
2. The Tigers have rediscovered their bite

Throughout the 2017 finals series, Richmond's immense pressure and ability to keep the ball trapped in its forward half was the benchmark of the competition. In the first three weeks of this season, that staple of the Tigers' game style was missing in action. But that physical style has returned with a vengeance in recent weeks and their ability to force 47 forward-half turnovers in the Anzac Day Eve game was critical in Richmond's big win over Melbourne. Despite missing a number of key players through injury, the performances of players such as Liam Baker, Sydney Stack and Jack Ross have added plenty of energy and life into the Tigers' side. That those players have fitted in so seamlessly is a credit to the Tigers' system and the game style that they have developed. - Ben Guthrie

 
3. Geelong is the team to beat in 2019

Many commentators were tipping the demise of Geelong in 2019 after a comprehensive elimination final exit last year. But the Cats were confident they remained around the mark and reloaded to go again this season, making some distinct personnel changes and subtle shifts in their game style. The acquisitions of Gary Rohan and Luke Dahlhaus have proved to be a masterstroke and the permanent move of Gary Ablett to the forward line has been just as significant. Geelong's defence is as tough as any to breach in the competition and its midfield is full of stars at the top of their game.  The Cats are playing with a confidence – which was on full show against the Eagles – that has them as the benchmark team in the AFL after six rounds. - Ben Guthrie

 
4. Don't write off Adelaide just yet

The Crows entered the season as supposed premiership contenders, so when they started so meekly, dropping home games to Hawthorn and Geelong before putting in a dismal display against North Melbourne, pundits were quick to jump off the bandwagon. That might have been premature. Beating up on a Gold Coast side that had fought bravely was one thing, but coming back to Marvel Stadium, the scene of the Roos disaster, and outworking the dogged St Kilda, after a slow start, was full of merit. They dominated contested possessions (152-131), led by the Crouch brothers and the recently recalled Hugh Greenwood, their ball movement is looking better, Elliott Himmelberg looks like he will keep Josh Jenkins out of the team again and perhaps most importantly, Taylor Walker is starring. At 3-3, Adelaide has revived a year that looked like it might be wasted once again after the disaster that was 2018. - Dinny Navaratnam

FANTASY FORM WATCH Pig, Piglet, rage trades and your questions

 
5. Bombers have some spine to go with their sparkle

Essendon is hard to stop when it gets a game on its terms. The query, however, is how good the Bombers are when the going gets tough. Those doubts were alleviated somewhat on Anzac Day, despite a narrow four-point defeat to the Pies. There were moments in the first half when it looked as though Essendon could be on the end of a hiding. The Bombers were 33 points down at one stage and were struggling to get any sort of foot hold in the match. But they soon turned the tide. Although they never led, they were able to completely stop Collingwood's momentum and reduce the margin to just three points. A midfield led by Dylan Shiel, Zach Merrett and Dyson Heppell – and important players punctuating key position roles at either end of the field – were key to this significant comeback. The stars are clearly there the Bombers to compete. Crucially, the attitude is as well. - Riley Beveridge

 
6. Freo's most dangerous forwards were already at the club last season

After three years mired in the bottom three for scoring, the Dockers went hard to secure marquee recruits Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb during last year's NAB AFL Trade Period. There was a widespread feeling something had to be done to restructure the forward line if Ross Lyon's men were going to become a scoring threat. But you could argue Freo already had the cattle, if not the game style, to push back up the ladder. After six rounds, the Dockers' four leading goalkickers are Michael Walters (13), Brandon Matera (12), Matt Taberner (11) and Cam McCarthy (10) – all of whom were at the club last season. Lobb, who is currently the lead ruckman, and Hogan have been serviceable, if not yet outstanding, and each has five goals to his name. - Travis King

 
7. Gun midfielder Jacob Hopper is the Giants' toughest player

Apologies to Callan Ward, Shane Mumford, Phil Davis and Stephen Coniglio, but there's a new king of the hard nuts at GWS. Now that he's finally free of injury and illness, Hopper's impact this year has been immense – with career-high averages in possessions and clearances – and his breakthrough season couldn't have come at a better time with Ward gone for the season. The 22-year-old amassed a game-high 33 possessions (19 of those contested) and seven clearances against Sydney, but it wasn't his impressive numbers that inspired his side – it was his courage and hardness. Hopper copped two heavy knocks, the second of which left him writhing in agony on the SCG surface for a couple of minutes, but he shook off his pain and resumed his crucial role in a dominant midfield unit. The Giants have been patient with their academy product and it's not hard to see why. The boy from Leeton is immensely popular among the playing group and is an emerging star of the competition. - Adam Curley

FROM THE TWOS Veteran Pie, young Tiger put hands up

8. The Blues are coming 

After starting the season with four straight losses – the last of which came after leading with 10 seconds left against Gold Coast – it seemed a case of same old, same old for reigning wooden spooner Carlton. That crisis has sparked a surprisingly strong response, with the Blues hammering the Western Bulldogs and looking like they would do the same to Hawthorn in Launceston when they led by six goals early in the second quarter. The Blues ultimately went down to the Hawks in a thriller, but let's not forget they were without the evergreen Kade Simpson (hamstring) for the bulk of the second half and Nic Newman was troubled by a knee issue late. And let's not forget, either, the exhilarating football they played in the first half when they dominated stoppages, used the ball with precision, speed and adventure and were well served by key forwards Harry McKay and Mitch McGovern. It moved Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson to observe that the Blues are "on the climb". - Ben Collins

BARRETT'S MARGIN CALL Another unwanted honourable loss

 
9. Brisbane's recruiters got it spot on

While the Lions have largely gone about their rebuild by picking up high-end talent through the national draft – think McCluggage, Rayner, Berry and Witherden –the club's recruiting team deserves a huge pat on the back for adding the perfect blend of mature talent. In Saturday's win over Gold Coast, arguably the four best players on the ground have all previously played elsewhere. Mitch Robinson continued a stellar start to 2019 by winning the Marcus Ashcroft Medal, but it could have easily gone to either Lachie Neale or Jarryd Lyons for their influential roles. Then there was Charlie Cameron, down the past two weeks but back to his best with 21 disposals and two goals. Whether it was picking up players other clubs didn't want in Robinson and Lyons or eyeing off players they thought would fit the club's trajectory like Neale and Cameron, the Lions have done a fantastic job in identifying players that could help their climb. And they're probably not done yet. - Michael Whiting