In this week's Nine things we learned, we discover that Dusty's hunger for greatness knows no bounds, the Bulldogs got it right with their ruck recruiting and Adelaide's horror 2020 is a rapidly fading memory. 

BARRETT No malice in Danger's bump, but he must be banned

04:54 Mins
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The 10: Round one's best moments

Watch all the best highlights from a brilliant opening round

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1. Dusty is, somehow, still getting better

How can you have three premierships, three Norm Smith Medals, a Brownlow Medal, four All-Australian blazers, two best and fairests … and still be getting better? It's the impossible question Dustin Martin is answering. The Richmond superstar was simply dominant on Thursday night, impacting in every important moment as the Tigers got their season off to a winning start. Martin had 31 disposals, two goals, four goal assists and 12 score involvements in a scintillating, brilliant performance. Remarkably, Martin's heat map from the game displayed that not one of his 31 disposals came from behind the centre circle, highlighting just how much of an impact he had in the most threatening areas of the field. His remarkable goal in the second quarter split the game open, while his second goal in the final term just about killed the game off. Richmond coach Damien Hardwick signalled over the summer that Martin was getting better. For those who didn't think it was possible, do you believe him now? - Riley Beveridge

2. Stefan Martin leads the race as Recruit of the Year

The Dogs' Martin acquisition just vindicated itself in one night. Not offered a contract by Brisbane at the end of last year, Martin was snapped up by Luke Beveridge and arrived at Whitten Oval with a point to prove. And the 34-year-old delivered in spades on Friday night, curbing Brodie Grundy's influence in the ruck and beating him around the ground. Martin finished with 15 disposals, six clearances and pushed forward to kick a goal on his direct opponent. It also allowed his younger sidekick Tim English to walk taller floating between the ruck and attack having been bullied by Grundy in their previous three meetings. - Mitch Cleary

3. Beware the Eagles' three-headed monster

West Coast has found a way to use its three key forwards and two ruckmen in a way that doesn't leave it exposed to running teams – and it's a scary proposition for opponents. Oscar Allen is the key, moving between attack and defence and booting four goals on Sunday against a gutsy Gold Coast. The flexibility Allen provides allowed West Coast to rest its tall defenders and rotate its two ruckmen off the ground separately. This week it was Allen kicking a bag, but it could easily be Jack Darling or Josh Kennedy next week. The shame for opponents is it's not a structure that can be exploited. - Nathan Schmook

4. Will Day is one of the Hawks' most important players already

In just his 12th AFL game, Day proved on Saturday night he is already an enormous part of Hawthorn's hopes to push up the ladder. The second-year half-back was excellent against the Bombers, racking up a career-high 28 disposals and eight marks. Not only does he chime in and cut off opposition with intercept marks, Day is also as sure as anyone in the Hawks' line-up by foot and with his decision-making. With plenty of growth and development still left in him, the 19-year-old shapes as a crucial cog in Hawthorn's rebuild. - Callum Twomey

5. Callum Mills is made for the midfield

It was probably a no-brainer for coach John Longmire, but moving Callum Mills from defence into the midfield over the pre-season has already proved a winner. Mills was superb against the Lions, an ideal complement to Luke Parker and Josh Kennedy's inside grunt and perfect link man between defence and attack. Still just 23, Mills picked the Lions' apart, with 21 of his 29 disposals uncontested, leading to 10 score involvements and two goals. The former NAB Rising Star winner is set for another leap in 2021. - Michael Whiting

6. Power recruits could be the missing pieces

Ken Hinkley knows Port Adelaide wasn't far off lifting the premiership cup last year and has made the right moves during the off-season to help them go deeper in September. The addition of Orazio Fantasia into an already imposing forward line looks like it will pay dividends and Aliir Aliir has slotted in seamlessly down back. Sure, Hinkley has bigger fish to fry than North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium in round one, but don't expect the Power to be too far away when the whips are cracking at the business end of the season. - Jonathan Healy

7. The Dockers can't win with this injury list

Justin Longmuir said during the week that Fremantle didn't want to "rob Peter to pay Paul" by throwing defenders into attack to compensate for the loss of several key forwards. He then shuffled the magnets anyway, shifting Alex Pearce into the forward line on Saturday only for him to go down with a knee injury as well. Still missing Rory Lobb (knee), Michael Frederick (calf), Josh Treacy (suspension), Michael Walters (hamstring) and Sam Sturt (ankle), the Dockers' options are limited – and it showed against the Demons. The side had 57 inside-50s for just seven marks, struggling to find a genuine threat in attack. With Joel Hamling sustaining an ankle injury at the MCG, throwing his chances to face Greater Western Sydney next week into doubt, another unusual forward option goes out the window for Longmuir. Does he shift Brennan Cox forward? Can Nat Fyfe play more minutes in attack? Can Sean Darcy return as a marking target? Anything will do right now for Fremantle. - Riley Beveridge

8. The easybeat Crows of 2020 are no more

When Adelaide walked out against Geelong on Saturday featuring nine players with under 10 games of AFL experience, it's fair to say not many gave them a chance of victory against a hardened Cats outfit. But the Crows prevailed, with youngsters including James Rowe, Lachlan Sholl and Jordan Butts – who curtailed Tom Hawkins in just his third AFL game – showing composure beyond their years. Adelaide's rapid improvement can't come as a complete surprise, given it won three of its last four games to end last season. And if the Crows can continue to show the relentless pressure and youthful exuberance that served them so well against the Cats, they may find their ascent up the ladder comes quicker than they expected. - Luke Michael  

9. Giant's huge debut was worth the epic wait

It took Giants ruckman Matt Flynn 1944 days from getting drafted to make his debut, but he's shown in one match that he can provide more than just cover for injured rucking recruit Braydon Preuss. Flynn had 34 hitouts but it was his 18 possessions, including five clearances, in the loss to St Kilda that most impressed on a day not made for big men. It looked like Flynn's game was over in the third term, when he hobbled toward the bench with an ankle issue, but he was soon strapped up and running around the boundary to huge cheers from Giants fans and played out the match. - Martin Pegan