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In this week's Nine things we learned, brought to you by Haier, the world's No.1 appliance maker, we look at the big injury problem at Collingwood, why Richmond is struggling and could rising Sun Matt Rowell win the Brownlow?

1. The Pies might have lost their most irreplaceable player

Plenty is made of Collingwood's midfield riches but there's no doubt the Magpies' defence is every bit as important in the success of Nathan Buckley's side. With a serious knee injury set to sideline Jeremy Howe for an extended period, Collingwood will lose arguably the game's in-form backman. There is still plenty of quality back there with Darcy Moore, Brayden Maynard, Jack Crisp and Jordan Roughead. But Howe's aerial talents, expert reading of the play and ball-winning ability won't be easy to replace. Could this be Lynden Dunn's ticket back to the big time? Dunn is four games short of reaching 200, so there could be a positive twist to come out of this. - Marc McGowan

00:55 Mins
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Howe suffers serious knee injury in bone-crunching collision

Collingwood high-flier Jeremy Howe helped off after a massive hit

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2. The Tigers need to get their act together

Before last week, Richmond hadn't lost a game in 371 days. They've now lost twice in nine days. If the Tigers are to kickstart their season as they aim for a third flag in four years, they will need to find a spark… and quickly. Without a win in three matches since the season resumed, Damien Hardwick's team faces a tall order to secure the top-four position that so often proves the difference between success and failure for premiership contenders. Over the last two years, teams have needed 11 wins after round 17 to secure the double chance. Given the Tigers haven't won since round one, it now means they could be left with the uphill task of securing victory in 10 of their next 14 games to achieve that feat. It's time for 'Dimma' and his troops to get a move on. - Riley Beveridge 

THE LADDER Where is your team sitting?

04:42 Mins
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The 10: Round four's best moments

Watch all the best highlights from a thrilling round four

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3. Matt Rowell can win the Brownlow

Well, why can't he? The four-game sensation put together his third straight best-on-ground performance in the Suns' 13-point win over Fremantle, finishing with 20 disposals and two brilliant goals. Rowell started the match on fire and the way he shrugged off dual Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe's tackle was a moment that showed he can mix it with the best. There's every chance the 18-year-old No.1 pick is currently on nine Brownlow Medal votes and with just 13 matches remaining, there's no reason why he couldn't take home Charlie in his first season. - Chris Correia

BARRETT Could a four-game star upstage two of the greats?

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Rowell continues to impress

Anderson serves up a gem for his best mate and Gold Coast kick 5 in a row

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4. Sam Docherty might be the real 'recruit' of the year

The Blues got so used to playing without their co-captain over the past two years that it's been something of a pleasant surprise – and reminder – how well the attacking half-back has settled back into things for the Blues. Docherty was among the best afield in his side's one-point win over Essendon on Saturday night, gathering a game-high 32 disposals. Many of them were important and few were wasted, with Docherty registering the most metres gained of any player on the ground (547 metres). After missing all of the 2018 and 2019 seasons with back-to-back knee reconstructions, Docherty could have been forgiven for taking some time to adjust to the rigours and pace of the top level again. But it's not the case, and his addition has been crucial to a Carlton unit looking far more organised and settled. - Callum Twomey

5. Rozee and Walsh have a new rival for 2018's best draftee

Western Bulldogs midfielder and No.7 pick Bailey Smith is the real deal. After showing his strength at the contest in last week's win over Greater Western Sydney, he backed it up in fine style against Sydney on Thursday night. While skipper Marcus Bontempelli took the headlines with his courage, Smith did the grunt work on the inside in a midfield lacking Josh Dunkley, Lachie Hunter and Lin Jong to finish with 20 disposals (nine contested). Don't go early on calling the best of the 2018 NAB AFL Draft a two-horse race between Connor Rozee and Sam Walsh. - Mitch Cleary

6. Tex isn't done yet

Many were calling for former Adelaide captain Taylor Walker to be dropped after a quiet start to the season. Those would have felt vindicated after Walker was very quiet in the first half of Sunday's clash against Brisbane. But with the Crows trailing by 40 points at half-time, Walker inspired his team with a brilliant third term to give them hope of producing an upset. He kicked two quickfire goals before setting up another two as Adelaide kicked the only four goals of the third term. The comeback ultimately amounted to nothing, but it showed Walker still has a place in this developing Crows team. - Ben Sutton

FANTASY FORM WATCH Patience runs thin with below-par stars

7. A former ruckman might be in All-Australian contention as a defender

There are still question marks on whether Jon Ceglar is Hawthorn's best option as No.1 ruckman but there are nothing but ticks for Ben McEvoy's transformation into a defender. McEvoy claimed another scalp on Sunday night, keeping North Melbourne's Ben Brown to one possession in the first three quarters and eventually just one goal from three disposals. No forward has got hold of McEvoy since he switched down back in round 22 last year. Ceglar had his colours lowered for the second time in three weeks but Alastair Clarkson would now be reluctant to lose McEvoy from his backline. He is working beautifully in tandem with James Sicily, who's free of last year's lockdown roles and able to instead provide aerial support for others. - Marc McGowan

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Watch the last two minutes: Haw v NM

Enjoy the thrilling final moments between the Hawks and the Kangaroos

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8. Victorian clubs will be kicking themselves over this Power mid

Port Adelaide invited Karl Amon to explore his options and try and find a new club while under contract at the end of 2018 after just six games that season. He couldn't find a suitor and returned to Alberton with a point to prove. Two years on, and with a new contract until 2022, Amon is a crucial member of Ken Hinkley's line-up. The 24-year-old has turned himself into a fringe half-forward to a hard-running wingman and had the third-most metres gained against West Coast on Saturday. Add in 17 disposals and a goal and he is having a large say on why his side remains unbeaten. - Mitch Cleary

9. Melbourne's half-forwards need a tune-up

Simon Goodwin's new-look forward line places an emphasis on speed, work rate and defensive pressure but none of that matters when the ball use is sloppy. The Cats dominated possession with 60 more marks, but the Demons led the inside 50 count by eight. Melbourne ran at just 63 per cent disposal efficiency as a group, with the likes of Jake Melksham, Bayley Fritsch and Jayden Hunt all running at 40 per cent efficiency or lower. With so many mediums and smalls in the side, the darting passes simply must hit targets for Melbourne to get back to its best. - Jourdan Canil