In this week's Nine things we learned, brought to you by Haier, the world's No.1 appliance maker, we discover the key to beating ladder-leading Port Adelaide and find that half-time sprays aren't always worth the effort.

1. Tom Lynch needs to cool it. Just ask Tomahawk

One of the traits that makes Tom Lynch so good is his aggression, but the marquee Richmond forward is walking on thin ice. Lynch's hit to the stomach of Sam Collins in Monday night's win over Gold Coast might not even be looked at by the Match Review Officer, or it might end up costing him a fine – either way, he is entering dangerous territory. Just two weeks ago Lynch's shove to the back of Alex Witherden's head cost him $500. While neither incident is that bad in isolation, it's these types of brain fades that can be costly come finals time – just ask Geelong's Tom Hawkins whose moment of madness with Will Schofield cost him a preliminary final spot and perhaps his team a Grand Final appearance. - Michael Whiting

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Lynch gives Collins a clip en route to telling blow

Tom Lynch's opponent Sam Collins goes down before the Tigers' forward kicks a sealer

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2. When Charlie struggles, so does Port

Virgin Australia AFL All Australian contender Charlie Dixon has struggled to impact in four games this season – Port Adelaide has lost three of them. Although the Power midfield was a little untidy against Geelong and Tom Clurey was outclassed by Tom Hawkins, Dixon's quiet night (no goals from just three disposals) didn't help. Perhaps it's a coincidence and Ken Hinkley has gone to great lengths to defend his club's reliance on Dixon, but the numbers are stacking up. The imposing full-forward went goalless from six disposals in a loss to Brisbane and one goal from eight touches in a defeat from St Kilda. - Michael Whiting

3. Sometimes words can only last 15 minutes

Walking from the ground at half-time, Greater Western Sydney captain Stephen Coniglio labelled his side's start against Sydney as "hopeless" when speaking to Fox Footy. Just 15 minutes later, and 15 seconds into the second half, the skipper let best-on-ground Swan Luke Parker walk through a tackle to have a shot on goal. It was an alarming trend on a sorry night for the Giants, with three broken tackles in nine seconds leading to the Swans' first goal of the match. Leon Cameron said his side deserved all of the criticism that came its way after dishing up "tripe" and it wasn't just their effort that was questioned. They registered 52 inside 50s – their highest for the season – but only three goals in a haphazard system going into attack. - Mitch Cleary

4. Essendon needs to find a key forward

The Bombers ran about even with St Kilda's midfield on Sunday at the Gabba, winning the clearances, having more disposals and even registering more inside 50s than the flag contenders. It was a solid effort against a group that has pushed the Saints up the ladder this year. But the Bombers couldn’t capitalise and have an issue in attack – a big one. Injuries have meant that they have not gotten their best forward group together for some time, and Joe Daniher (groin), Jake Stringer (ankle) and Orazio Fantasia (calf) were all missing against St Kilda. With Daniher's fitness and future unclear, the Bombers have been linked to Greater Western Sydney free agent Jeremy Cameron, and last year had an interest in North Melbourne's Ben Brown. But the defeat to St Kilda underlined the need for a spearhead, particularly if Daniher backs up his trade request from last year with a free agency move this time around. - Callum Twomey

BARRETT Time for 'Truck' to take charge as Dons crash out

5. Angus Brayshaw is on the way back

Following his third place finish in the 2018 Brownlow Medal, Angus Brayshaw's drop-off in form has typified Melbourne's struggles since. It's no coincidence that in the past three matches as Brayshaw has improved, so have the Demons. Against Collingwood the midfielder continued to spend more time onball rather than on a wing and his influence was pronounced, gathering 23 disposals (nine contested) and kicking a long-range goal. The mix of Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca and Jack Viney gave the Magpies headaches and is a key to Melbourne pushing for a finals berth. - Michael Whiting

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Happy 'Gus' Gilmore drives it home

Melbourne midfielder roosts a set shot from long range

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6. The Blues are great for the neutrals 

You can't say Carlton isn't entertaining. Saturday night's remarkable after-the-siren victory over Fremantle was its second game this season decided by the last kick of the match. Jack Newnes' incredible set-shot winner might have just made up for when Robbie Gray slotted a post-siren major to break Blues hearts earlier in the year. Unbelievably, six of Carlton's 11 games this season have now been decided by seven points or less, with the Blues holding a 4-2 ledger in those thrilling encounters. Carlton had earlier withheld a late Geelong fightback to win by two points at Kardinia Park, seen Jacob Townsend's last-gasp shot fall short in a one-point win over Essendon, while it had beaten North Melbourne by seven points at the Gabba. The Blues had also clawed back a significant deficit only to lose by a solitary point to Melbourne, as well as that after-the-siren defeat to Gray and Port Adelaide. - Riley Beveridge

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Jaw-dropping shot after siren seals Carlton win

Blues recruit Jack Newnes couldn't have struck the footy any more sweetly to give his side the victory

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7. Hawks will benefit from trying new players

The call for Hawthorn to offer opportunity to untried or lightly played footballers on its list is, admittedly, becoming a bit tired. However, Irishman Conor Glass was evidence on Sunday night that the Hawks have plenty to gain by exposing more players in the run home. Alastair Clarkson says he won't play anyone for the sake of it, and he certainly didn't in Glass' and Changkuoth Jiath's case. Both of them have earned an opportunity, but they're not the only ones playing solidly at the lower level. Harry Jones and James Cousins are winning plenty of the Sherrin, Dan Howe's been building match fitness for weeks, Ollie Hanrahan and Josh Morris keep kicking goals, Dylan Moore and Jackson Ross are demonstrating their versatility, and Damon Greaves is showing a bit, too. Finn Maginness is still on a steep learning curve, but is another option as well. Hawthorn will miss finals for the third time in four years, so let's hope Clarko and co. take a leap towards more youth in the next six rounds. - Marc McGowan

8. Hunter is red, white and blue through and through

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge rubbished claims Lachie Hunter might be thinking of a move elsewhere, after speculation about Brisbane showing interest arose during the week. The star midfielder dominated his first game back from a personal absence with 29 disposals against the Crows, but the jumper grab after kicking a goal said it all. Hunter is contracted until the end of 2024 and if the Lions or any other club wants him, it's going to take a lot on the trade table. - Jourdan Canil

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Happy Hunter after gut-running reward

Lachie Hunter grabs his jumper in delight after notching a superb goal on the run

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9. The Roos' engine room will carry their rebuild

Rhyce Shaw made a statement by dropping Jared Polec and Aaron Hall in a midfield unit already missing Ben Cunnington, Jack Ziebell and Tarryn Thomas through injury. Then he kept his next best midfielder Shaun Higgins on a wing with the veteran not registering a single clearance for the match against Brisbane. At the feet of Todd Golstein the grunt work was left to Jy Simpkin, Trent Dumont and Jed Anderson who is edging towards inking a contract extension. Throw in Luke Davies-Uniacke, who looked composed as he continues to build match fitness, and the young Roos more than held their own against Lachie Neale, Jarryd Lyons and Dayne Zorko. - Mitch Cleary