In this week's Six things we learned, we discover that Tim English is turning into one of the AFL's most frightening ruck stars, West Coast won't be getting the No.1 pick and Port Adelaide's never-say-die spirit is alive and well.
1. Look out, Max, Tim is coming for your crown
Melbourne premiership captain Max Gawn has been the clear standout ruckman in the League for the best part of six years, but his time at the top could be coming to an end very soon. While Gawn spends the first of his four-plus weeks on the sidelines, Tim English staked his claim to takeover the mantle with a dominant performance against GWS on Saturday night. Admittedly the cards fell English's way with Matt Flynn withdrawing pre-match and Braydon Preuss subbed out early, but the 24-year-old still put on a clinic to not only give his midfielders first use of the ball, but become a key link in the chain with 23 disposals and a healthy 416m gained. He also dropped down back for a few colossal marks. English might have a way to go to match Gawn's ruckwork, but his all-round game gets better and better with each passing week. - Ben Sutton
2. Pick No.1 is not going to be West Coast's
After weeks of being an opportunity for a percentage boost for opposition teams, the wheel has turned at West Coast and their days on the bottom of the ladder appear numbered. Highlighting the depths to which the team had fallen through an availability crisis, an 18-point loss to Geelong on Saturday was enough for a small percentage boost and the Eagles now sit just 0.1 per cent behind 17th-placed North Melbourne. The signs of a competitive game style with their personnel returning are there at West Coast, and so is a hunger for the contest that coach Adam Simpson will make a non-negotiable in the last two months of the season. With Tim Kelly and Liam Ryan returning next week, and Nic Naitanui a few weeks away, it's hard to picture them being less competitive than the Kangaroos from here. – Nathan Schmook
3. Port Adelaide's season isn't over yet
The Power remain two wins outside the top eight and have a tough run of fixtures to come, including matches against Fremantle, Melbourne, Geelong and Collingwood among their next six, but don’t rule them out of finals yet. The Power have faced adversity this year, losing their first five games before responding to square their ledger. They were without mainstays Travis Boak and Robbie Gray on Saturday against Sydney before losing Zak Butters and debutant Brynn Teakle early to injury, yet found a way to win against a top-eight opponent. Ken Hinkley's side won't give in easily. – Ben Somerford
4. Dion Prestia's grunt is key to Richmond's hopes
If the Tigers were to knock off Carlton on Thursday evening, they had to match the Blues' effort at the coalface. That's exactly what the Tigers did from the off and it was led in part by Dion Prestia who was sensational all evening at stoppages. In Richmond's round one loss to the Blues, Prestia hurt his hamstring, which was a significant blow to the midfield stocks against the plethora of Carlton midfield stars who ran all over them on the night. However, on this occasion, the three-time premiership star was available for the entirety of the game and his inclusion paid major dividends. Prestia was everywhere, accumulating 33 disposals (19 contested) and winning a whopping game-high 13 clearances - which was eight more than any of Carlton's midfielders. - Nick D'Urbano
5. Darcy Parish's loss is Jye Caldwell's gain
Now in his second season at Essendon, Jye Caldwell is finally getting some consistency under his belt after an injury-interrupted 2021. In the absence of Darcy Parish (calf) against St Kilda, Caldwell spent more time as an inside midfielder, and his toughness and composure was on show. Finishing with an equal-career high 23 disposals and five clearances, as well as 13 contested possessions and seven tackles, the former Greater Western Sydney first-round selection looks set to thrive when given greater responsibility – Sarah Black.
6. Six seasons in, Ben Ainsworth is realising his potential
The Suns had high hopes for Ben Ainsworth when taking him with the No.4 pick in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft, but a combination of injuries and inconsistent form has seen him struggle to realise his potential to date. Not any more, though. Ainsworth's outstanding showing against Adelaide continued a brilliant season for the Gold Coast half-forward, who is able to outwork opponents with power running both ways that is hard to match. Now 24 and with 87 games to his name, Ainsworth is entering his prime and a man helping drive the Suns towards a possible first finals appearance. - Michael Whiting