BROUGHT TO YOU BYHaier

In this week's Seven things we learned, brought to you by Haier, the world's No.1 appliance maker, the premiership race is taking on a familiar look, Adelaide's prospects of victory are getting bleaker by the round and an unsung Port youngster might just be their best. 

1. There's a touch of Hollywood about Cal

Cal Ward is a tough, uncompromising footballer, and a highly respected one. We've also learned he has some other handy strings to his bow. In the final quarter, with the game on the line, Ward was bumped by Essendon big man Shaun McKernan. Ward threw his head back, spun his body around, and earned himself a free kick which resulted in a crucial goal. After the Match Review Officer made a statement during the week when fining Sydney's Tom Papley for staging, the hot topic after the game was: should Ward be fined too? Not shying away from the issue, GWS defender Heath Shaw spoke to Ward following the Giants' four-point win. Ward said: "I thought I played it pretty well. I didn't play for it, but I knew the contact was coming." Spoken like a true pro. Over to you, MRO. - Cameron Noakes

03:28 Mins
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Watch the last two minutes: Ess v GWS

Relive the thrilling final moments between the Bombers and the Giants

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2. Time is running out for the Crows

Yes, it's a truncated AFL season. But time is quickly evaporating if Adelaide is to secure a victory in season 2020. Another loss on Wednesday night, this one to Melbourne, was the club's 13th in a row dating back to August 3, 2019 – more than a year ago. With just seven matches remaining this season, the Crows are now staring down the barrel of becoming the first team since Fitzroy in 1964 to go winless throughout an entire home-and-away campaign. The daunting prospect? Of those seven opponents they are yet to face, four are in the top eight – Richmond (fourth), Geelong (fifth), Greater Western Sydney (seventh) and Collingwood (eighth). The Western Bulldogs (ninth) also have realistic finals ambitions. Perhaps it leaves Carlton (13th) and Hawthorn (14th) as its best opportunity to secure victory. However, after squandering a solid first half against Melbourne this week – and late chances against Essendon a fortnight ago – time is undoubtedly running out. - Riley Beveridge

3. Reigning premiers are still the team to beat

This season has thrown up plenty of things we'll likely never see again, but the more things change, the more they stay the same – Richmond is still the team to beat. Even with Dion Prestia, Shane Edwards, Bachar Houli, Josh Caddy and Toby Nankervis missing, the Tigers dismissed premiership contenders Brisbane with relative (Lions' poor goalkicking aside) ease. The pressure is back to its best, the aggression is there, and a bloke called Dustin Martin is also peaking nicely in time for a run to the finals. - Michael Whiting

00:33 Mins
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Insane Dusty kick shows his sublime skills

Dustin Martin pulls off something very few have the talent to do in the AFL

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4. Let the Butler take your All-Australian jacket

Dan Butler continued his outstanding first season in Saints colours with a match-winning performance against the Suns. All four of his goals had a touch of class, and more importantly composure, in the see-sawing battle. Butler now has 21 goals through 10 rounds and would be knocking on the door of Virgin Australia AFL All Australian selection. Now past the mid-point of the season, the Richmond premiership player is proving not only the most astute purchase of the off-season, but arguably the best. - Michael Whiting

5. Zak Butters doesn't get the attention he deserves

Connor Rozee was second in last year's NAB AFL Rising Star and led Port Adelaide's goalkicking in his debut season. Xavier Duursma showed himself to be one of the most exciting youngsters in the competition with his scintillating run and skills. But of all three of the Power's talented 2018 NAB AFL Draft trio, it is Butters who should be getting more plaudits for his 2020 season. The half-forward has spent more time in the midfield this year for Port Adelaide and had one of his best games of the season against the Bulldogs this week, with Butters moving into the engine room with a critical third term where all of his disposals made things happen. Butters finished with a career-best 24 disposals and had three clearances to steer Port to a win. - Callum Twomey

00:49 Mins
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Sheer desperation from Butters deserves a goal

Zak Butters throws himself at the ball and the tap is on a platter for Kane Farrell

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6. Collingwood needs a forward to stand up

The Magpies' forward-50 entries were woeful and haphazard at times on Thursday night, on top of their goalkicking horror show, which spoiled an otherwise impressive play. That made it difficult for Collingwood's forwards to stamp their authority, but it's increasingly obvious it would benefit from one standout target. In previous seasons, the Pies thrived from a death-by-a-thousand-cuts approach, with a number of good contributors. However, with Jordan De Goey sidelined for two more months, they continue to look impotent in attack in 2020. Brody Mihocek is leading the club's goalkicking with only 13 from 10 games, with Jaidyn Stephenson (eight) and Thursday night's hero Josh Daicos, Will Hoskin-Elliott and De Goey (all seven) slotting the next-most. As a team, Collingwood is averaging a meagre 57.5 points, which ranks 15th in the competition. That needs to spike significantly if Nathan Buckley's men are to be a serious contender. - Marc McGowan

00:42 Mins
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Stadium goes wild after Daicos' outrageous GOTY contender

Collingwood were crying out for someone to step up and young gun Josh Daicos delivers with a remarkable solo effort

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7. Tomahawk still has plenty left in him

After a slow start to 2020, the questions began to come about Geelong veteran Tom Hawkins' future at the top level after this season. But the out-of-contract unrestricted free agent has hit back in a run of form that included a three-goal performance against North Melbourne in Wednesday night's win at the Gabba. Ranking equal fifth in the Coleman Medal after 10 rounds, the 32-year-old remains the Cats' best forward, is central to the club's flag hopes and has proven there is still plenty left to play out in his career. If he can avoid adding to his 10 Match Review charges in the past five seasons, he'll maximise his on-field impact in that time.  - Callum Twomey

01:11 Mins
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How does Tomahawk make both these look easy?

Tom Hawkins at his tantalising best after a terrific mark and equally impressive finish from the boundary

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