IN THIS week's Nine Things We Learned, we discover that the Dockers are good enough to challenge for their inaugural flag, the Tigers need to find a key forward and a young Lion is ready to make the leap. 

Check our what our team discovered in round 11 below. 

05:33 Mins
Published on

The 10: Round 11's best moments

Watch the best highlights from an action-packed round

Published on

1. 'Flagmantle' is legitimate

After a hot start to the season that saw the Dockers win six consecutive games, their performances in rounds 9-10 against Gold Coast and Collingwood set off fears about Fremantle’s genuine ability to contend this year. But those thoughts were put to rest on Saturday, as Justin Longmuir’s side trumped Melbourne with a stunning second half to end the Demons’ 17-game winning streak. It was done at the MCG in what will be the Dockers’ only game at the venue in the home and away season and also saw them wrestle back the game into their hands after trailing by 25 points at half-time. It was a famous Freo victory and will add important belief to the Dockers that they can beat anyone, anywhere. Melbourne remains the best team in the AFL by some distance but the Dockers showed how to beat the Demons, something that has looked inconceivable in recent times. - Callum Twomey

00:59 Mins
Published on

Schultz makes Melbourne pay after perfect Frederick flick

Lachie Schultz extends Fremantle's lead after this amazing assist from Michael Frederick

Published on

2. Richmond is going to have a key forward problem in the future

Tom Lynch is only sidelined for another match or two with his hamstring issue, but his absence against Sydney revealed a lack of key forward depth. The Tigers opted for a smaller attack, bringing in Jack Graham and using a resting ruck in Ivan Soldo or Toby Nankervis as the second tall. They were able to catch the Swans out when playing their quick, scrambling style, but struggled to match them in the air. Jack Riewoldt will be 34 in October, and after the unexpected double departures of Mabior Chol (Gold Coast) and Callum Coleman-Jones (North Melbourne) last year, there are no developing key talls on the list – Sarah Black

Richmond players look dejected after a loss during round 11, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

3. Mason Cox isn't done yet

Cox has produced better performances in bigger moments, but in the context of where his career sits, this was as important as it gets for the American. The 31-year-old has struggled to secure a permanent spot in the past two years, managing only seven games in 2021 before he secured an extension in late October. Cox was substituted out of last Sunday's game against Fremantle with a dislocated finger and was in doubt to face the Blues. But he stood up and delivered at the MCG on Sunday. It wasn't the numbers, it was the impact. He kicked a crucial goal late, hauled in four marks – all contested – and laid important tackles, defying gravity at times for a 211cm ruckman-forward. The Texan isn't done with yet at AFL level. – Josh Gabelich

BARRETT Blues, Dees' MVPs aren't who you think they are

04:05 Mins
Published on

Last two mins: Blue heartbreak, Pies prevail in a classic

The thrilling final moments between the Pies and Blues in round 11

Published on

4. Jezza has the League's best snap

Jeremy Cameron isn't your typical key forward with his ability to kick running goals. That was on display in Saturday's win over Adelaide, where two of his four goals for the game were brilliant long-range snaps. Generating distance, not accuracy, can often be a challenge with snaps yet Cameron kicked truly from 40m out with a left-foot snap across his body from a third-quarter throw-in. The ex-Giants forward showcased his array in the fourth term, with another snap but this time he was hemmed in on the boundary not suited to a left footer. Sharp shooter. - Ben Somerford

00:47 Mins
Published on

Jezza nails stunning curler while off-balance

Jeremy Cameron breaks a tackle and finishes with super snap

Published on

5. Cam Rayner is ready to take off

Now half-a-season back following his ruptured ACL, Cam Rayner is a whisker away from taking games over on his own. With Hugh McCluggage (hamstring) sidelined against the Giants, Rayner was thrown on-ball more often, attending 17 centre bounces, and cashing in with the extra opportunities. The former No.1 draft pick had career highs in disposals (25), contested possessions (12) and clearances (six) and was also able to chip in with a goal and two goal assists. Rayner’s power through congestion is a difference-maker for Brisbane, as is his penetrating kicking inside forward 50. His upward trajectory is a major factor why the Lions can be better in 2022 than 2021. – Michael Whiting

Cam Rayner handballs during round 11, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

6. The Eagles are on the verge of an historic low

The excuses at West Coast and the reasons for their plight this season can't be ignored, because the availability crisis the Eagles went through was unmatched. But neither can what has happened as they are emerging from it, because the extent of their struggles is also becoming unprecedented for the club. If the Eagles lose to Adelaide next Saturday at Adelaide Oval, it will be the club's worst start to a season in its 36-year history. The Eagles have never gone 1-11, even in their only wooden spoon year (2010). They had also only ever suffered one 100-point loss on home soil in a successful history. Saturday night's 101-point loss was their second by that margin or more this year. The talent is there on paper, but compromised seasons are now telling. A lot will need to change to get to, and pass, the four wins the club had in 2008 and 2010. – Nathan Schmook

Adam Simpson and Luke Shuey chat after West Coast's loss to the Western Bulldogs in round 11, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

7. The Suns are (finally) set for a serious finals tilt

Not since 2014, when the Suns sat in eighth spot after round 16 before Gary Ablett jnr did his shoulder, have finals looked as much a possibility for Gold Coast as they do right now. And not only is there no longer a reliance on a star as bright as Ablett, this side's talent is as evenly distributed as any in the League. Stuart Dew has refused to get involved in talk that involved the words 'Alastair Clarkson' and instead just concentrated on the job at hand. Yes, they're sitting a win and percentage outside the eight after victory against Hawthorn on Saturday night but with only two matches for the rest of the year against teams currently in the eight, the Suns have reason to dream of September, and Dew can dream of a 2023 with Ben King at his disposal. – Howard Kimber

06:15 Mins
Published on

Highlights: Gold Coast v Hawthorn

The Suns and Hawks clash in round eleven

Published on

8. The future is now for the Saints

A lot has been made of the talent the Saints have attracted from other clubs, but on Sunday afternoon against North Melbourne, it was the next generation of young talent that stood up. Marcus Windhager, taken with pick No.47 in the 2021 NAB AFL Draft, hasn't missed a beat since coming into the Saints side in round four. After an underwhelming debut in round one, Mitch Owens was back in the side against the Kangaroos and looked immediately at home. While the Saints picked up those two relatively cheaply, their prized first-round draft pick from the same year, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, is going great guns as well. His speed and silky ball use has given the Saints some polish and improved their forward 50 entries. Not to mention the incredible bang-for-buck they've received from Cooper Sharman who has kicked a goal in every game he's played since being picked up in the 2020 NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft. With Max King firing on all cylinders, and young midfielder Ryan Byrnes waiting in the wings, the future isn't just bright now, but right now for the Saints. – Sophie Welsh

9. Crunch time has come early for Port

After starting the season 0-5, and with its season hanging by a thread, Port Adelaide has found a way to get to the bye with a 5-6 record to sit just outside the top eight. It's been a marked turnaround and gives the Power a chance of taking part in September action, something that looked incredibly unlikely after their round five loss against Carlton. Following a bye round 12, Port has three matches that are likely to have a significant bearing on whether they play finals. In round 13, the Power tackle the Tigers, who are currently four points above them on the ladder, at the MCG. A week later, Port hosts Sydney (seventh on the ladder with one more win than them), while in round 14, the Power will welcome the Suns, who are just below Port (on percentage), to the Adelaide Oval. – Trent Masenhelder

NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft LIVE

Join Cal Twomey, Nat Edwards and Riley Beveridge for all the LIVE picks and analysis from 6.30pm AEST on Wed, June 1