In this week's Nine things we learned, we discover that a Carlton gun's form is good enough to take 'Charlie' home, Fremantle isn't ready for top-eight footy and there's a Tiger who desperately needs a new deal. 

1. Sam Walsh can win this year's Brownlow

On paper at least, Carlton's midfield had looked a little light in the absence of co-captain Patrick Cripps on Sunday. But youngster Sam Walsh made sure it wasn't. He finished with 38 disposals, five clearances, five tackles, nine marks and six score involvements in a scintillating individual display against Collingwood. But it was his final-quarter goal, delivered off-balance after shrugging two tackles, that capped his afternoon. Walsh is now averaging 30.6 disposals per game and has won more than 30 touches in five of the club's seven wins. Continue this for the season's final five games, and it could be Brownlow Medal pace. - Riley Beveridge

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Walsh wizardry on show, what can't he do?

Carlton midfield beast Sam Walsh caps off his brilliant game with a magnificent goal in the last

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2. Chol needs to be a priority re-signing for Richmond

The Tigers have some deals to work through as they head towards the final stretch of the home and away season, with gun midfielder Shai Bolton and triple-premiership forward Daniel Rioli parking contract talks until the end of the season and young forward Callum Coleman-Jones also being courted by rivals. Free agents David Astbury, Kamdyn McIntosh and Bachar Houli are also all out of contract. But Mabior Chol showed on Friday night why he is a key signature the Tigers must capture, too. The unrestricted free agent booted a career-high four goals against Brisbane, and it was no coincidence his best game of the season came with Toby Nankervis back to shoulder the ruck load. Chol has suitors out there as a goalkicking/ruckman who has been in and out of Richmond’s line-up, particularly over the past three seasons. - Callum Twomey

3. Fremantle is not ready to play finals

This is not to doubt the path the Dockers are on, but Thursday night's result proved they are not at the level required to have any meaningful impact in September. An exciting month against lower-ranked teams was exposed as a false dawn by a hardened Geelong team that showed the Dockers up in the contest. It was their sixth loss in seven games against teams that entered round 18 in the top eight, and it was the Cats' proven finals game style and big bodies that undid them. It was no surprise that bullocking ruckman Sean Darcy was their best performer against a physical opponent. Another 12 months of development in young stars Andrew Brayshaw, Caleb Serong and co. will likely see the Dockers end what will be a six-year stretch without finals if they don't make it this year. But the team is not ready yet. - Nathan Schmook

4. Smith has to keep spending time on-ball

With Adam Treloar still injured and Tom Liberatore rested against the Suns, Bailey Smith had a huge night playing mostly on-ball. After starting the season on the wing and occasionally at half-forward, Luke Beveridge has recently found plenty more minutes for his former top-10 draft pick around the contest, and Smith has not let his coach down. Against Gold Coast it was 33 disposals, and career highs in contested possessions (17) and clearances (nine) to provide a perfect foil for Marcus Bontempelli. The Dogs have an overflow of midfield riches, but Smith's grunt around the ball is a terrific weapon. - Michael Whiting

5. Georgiades is among the comp's best young key forwards

There has been a lot of hype around some of the young key forward stars who have made their mark this season, such as Oscar Allen and Aaron Naughton. But someone who is perhaps flying under the radar is Mitch Georgiades. The youngster showed on Saturday against the Saints that he is a player to watch, booting a game-high four goals and causing havoc for St Kilda defenders with his strong marking ability. Georgiades has now kicked 27 goals for the year, and coach Ken Hinkley said post-game he should be “right up there” in the conversation for the Rising Star award. Given he is only 19 years of age, Power fans can be confident their forward line is in good hands once Charlie Dixon decides to hang up the boots. - Luke Michael

6. Mitchell will inherit a finely tuned vehicle

Whether Alastair Clarkson will still be at the helm at Hawthorn come round 23, 2022 is a matter of debate, but the master coach showed against Melbourne that he has no intention of simply going through the motions until handing the keys to Sam Mitchell. Clarko took a young team built for the long term to the MCG and gave them a masterclass in the value of effort, determination and belief. While a smattering of veterans were wearing the brown and gold, they were almost there as on-field coaches, guiding the next generation like tribal elders taking initiates on their first hunt and pointing out the weak points that can bring down a mighty beast. Clarkson may be looking for a new car to drive, but he’s going to leave the old one well polished, tuned and with a full tank of gas. - Howard Kimber

7. Yeo remains the Eagles' barometer

The Eagles have a bevy of midfield stars, but it is Elliot Yeo that must fire if Adam Simpson's men are any chance of going all the way this season. A persistent groin issue slowed Yeo through much of the first half of the season, but the 27-year-old is now starting to find some continuity with his body and form having made seven consecutive appearances. The former Lion collected 22 disposals and won eight clearances against the Crows on Sunday and the Eagles need him to build on this form and peak during the finals if they harbour any aspirations of matching their premiership heroics of 2018. - Jonathan Healy

8. Joey and Parks show young Bloods how it's done

Callum Mills' move to become a permanent part of the Swans’ midfield has been such a success that the query is now over why it didn’t happen sooner. But with the former half-back isolating due to being a Tier 2 COVID-19 contact, it was left to co-captains Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker to lead the midfield against GWS which boasts one of the best contested-ball winning groups in the League. It was little surprise that the reliable duo did just that. Kennedy had 10 clearances among his 30 disposals (including a game-high 17 contested) while Parker had nine clearances amid 31 touches (13 contested), 11 score involvements and a goal. While the young Bloods have been the most striking part of the Swans’ re-emergence this season, Kennedy and Parker again showed that much of it has been built on the back of their most experienced onballers. - Martin Pegan

9. Peter Wright could be Essendon's not-so-hidden weapon

The big man was a key part of the Bombers' 18-point win over North Melbourne, kicking two of his three goals in the third term as the side mounted a comeback. The 24-year-old covered the ground well across all four quarters, recording 20 disposals (an equal-career high, last reached in Gold Coast's 2018 shock win over Sydney), 10 hitouts, seven score involvements and seven marks, despite some shaky disposal inside 50 by his teammates. Wright's confidence will be key in the Bombers' push towards September. – Sarah Black