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Collingwood's Ben Reid took an important step in his bid to make a long-awaited senior return by getting through a VFL hit-out unscathed.
Playing up forward, Reid kicked two goals and played most of the first three quarters in his side's 31-point win over Werribee, before sitting out the last term.
Reid has not played a senior game for the Pies this season after battling persistent calf injuries and a quad problem.
His Collingwood teammate Alex Fasolo returned after three weeks recovering from minor foot surgery, and played through the midfield.
Tim Broomhead, a first-round pick at the 2012 NAB AFL Draft, showed he was a class above by being in the Pies' best.
Clay Smith pressed his claims for a recall to the Western Bulldogs senior line-up with a best-on-ground display in Footscray's seven-point loss to the Box Hill Hawks.
Smith kicked three goals in a commanding midfield display, his aggression and strong work at the stoppages a feature. Liam Jones and Jarrad Grant kicked two goals each.
After a month out with an elbow injury, Hawthorn's first pick at last year's draft, Billy Hartung, returned to have some dashing runs through the midfield and finished with 17 disposals and a goal.
Alex Woodward and Kyle Cheney were among the Hawks' best.
Melbourne's Jay Kennedy-Harris, Mitch Clisby and rookie James Harmes were prolific in the midfield for the Casey Scorpions, who only just avoided a shock loss by beating Bendigo Gold by two points.
Bendigo almost claimed its first win of its final season in the competition, but a late goal to the Scorpions ended its hopes.
Recently re-signed Demon Dom Barry kicked three goals.
Essendon rookie Ariel Steinberg has continued his consistent form, being one of the Bombers' best in their four-point loss to Port Melbourne.
Into his fourth year on Essendon's list without playing a senior game, Steinberg was strong in the air and pulled in several intercept marks. Leroy Jetta was also active, particularly in the first half.
Young Adelaide midfielder Mitch Grigg seems likely to be considered for a senior opportunity after the club's bye next week, following a prolific game in the SANFL on Saturday.
Grigg collected 34 disposals and 11 marks in the Crows' SANFL side's win 45-point win over South Adelaide, and also had seven clearances, five tackles and two goals.
Fellow midfielder Matt Crouch had 25 disposals, and Jarryd Lyons and Cam Ellis-Yolmen found 23 apiece. Veteran defender Brent Reilly, who recently played his 200th AFL game for the Crows, was solid with 24 disposals and 10 marks.
Port Adelaide's Paul Stewart starred with 33 disposals and 11 marks in the SANFL against North Adelaide.
Power youngster Darcy Byrne-Jones had 24 disposals, while half-forward Karl Amon, also recruited at last year's draft, collected 21 touches, 10 marks and kick four goals in a silky display.
West Coast's Sharrod Wellingham responded to his axing by playing a leading role in East Perth's 28-point victory over East Fremantle on Saturday.
The former Collingwood midfielder gathered 26 touches, took eight marks and drove the ball inside 50 seven times as the Royals moved a game clear on top of the ladder.
Ex-Demon Jamie Bennell was also among the best after his 14-possession and one-goal effort, while Josh Hill booted two majors.
Meanwhile, Fremantle midfielder Matt de Boer built his case for a senior recall in Peel's two-point upset of Claremont.
De Boer tallied 31 disposals and laid 10 tackles in his third WAFL game since a medial ligament injury.
Rookies Jacob Ballard (33 possessions) and Michael Wood (four goals) also impressed.
The match was soured for Freo when Kepler Bradley was forced from the field with a right hamstring injury late in the third term and the big man played no further part.
In other news, sacked Carlton player Josh Bootsma made a low-key return to football in the Peel reserves and gathered 10 disposals across half-back.
After a week in which the Sydney Swans' depth hit the headlines, rookie-listed ruckman Sam Naismith and Daniel Robinson stole the show in the reserves' four-goal win against Belconnen.
Naismith (one goal) was the Swans' best afield, while promising midfielder Robinson booted three goals.
The performances of key forward Tommy Walsh, defender Matthew Dick and rookie Shane Biggs rounded out a solid win for the Swans.
Developing Brisbane Lions key forward Jackson Paine has put his hand up for a senior recall after bagging five goals in a heart-stopping one-point loss to NT Thunder.
Paine, hard-running midfielders Zac O'Brien and Nick Robertson are likely to come under consideration from Lions coach Justin Leppitsch following strong displays.
But rookie-listed midfielder/forward Nick Hayes was the standout, continuing his consistent form over the past month.