IN THIS week's Nine Things We Learned, we discover that those who were sceptical about St Kilda's rise were on the mark, a Bulldog clearance machine is back to his very best and West Coast's champion goalkicker can still deliver. 

Check our what our team discovered in round 15 below. 

THE RUN HOME Blues' massive boost, Lions cop reality check

06:23 Mins
Published on

The 10: Round 15's best moments

Watch the best highlights from a thrilling round of football

Published on

1. The Saints are proving their doubters right

It's felt the footy world reserved some caution on St Kilda being the real deal in 2022 and the club's past two games have justified that, with a shock loss to lowly Essendon followed by an uncompetitive defeat away to Sydney. The Saints had beaten top-eight sides Fremantle (away) and Geelong, and only lost to Brisbane away by 21 points in round 13 when besieged by injuries, but things have spiralled badly since. Their method and ball movement seem the key issue, leading to only 23 goals in their past three games. Max King booted 32 goals in their first 11 games but has only managed three in their past three. - Ben Somerford

2. Libba is back, and in career-best touch

After another 30-disposal, 11-clearance (and probable three-vote) effort against Hawthorn, it's safe to say Tom Liberatore is at his very best. The star Bulldog plays in arguably the deepest midfield in the competition, but at the moment is standing head and shoulders above his teammates with his attack on the footy and sheer grunt work around the packs. Liberatore is averaging a career-high 24.4 disposals as well as 6.7 clearances, and has kicked seven goals from his 14 matches. - Sarah Black

Tom Liberatore in action in the Western Bulldogs' win over Hawthorn in round 15, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

3. Classy Cat is the recruit of the year

George Hewett and Will Brodie are both right in the mix for this title, but Tyson Stengle has moved clear of the midfield pair after his match-winning performance against Richmond on Saturday. With the Cats trailing by three goals in the last quarter, Stengle was the catalyst to get his side back on top. He kicked one goal, had a crucial hand in Brad Close's major shortly after and then set up Jeremy Cameron for the go-ahead goal. When the Tigers hit the front with two minutes remaining, it was Stengle who attacked the ball at breakneck speed and impressively snapped on the turn to the top of the goalsquare where Jack Henry marked and nailed the match-winner. The 23-year-old has exceeded all expectations in his first year at Geelong and now has 29 goals from 14 games, which puts him firmly in contention for a maiden Therabody AFL All-Australian jacket. It would cap off a remarkable return to the AFL after he was sacked by Adelaide on the eve of the 2021 season. - Ben Sutton

04:11 Mins
Published on

Last two mins: Stewart goes from villain to hero in wild finish

Enjoy the thrilling final moments between the Cats and Tigers at the MCG

Published on

4. Darcy gives Pies a Giant dilemma

Darcy Cameron was arguably best afield for Collingwood in its 11-point win against GWS on Sunday, and is in career-best form. That’s great. The problem, however, is Cameron’s hot streak has occurred while No.1 ruckman, Brodie Grundy – who is on big money and is signed until the end of 2027 – is set to return from a long-term knee injury in about a month. Grundy suffered the injury in Round 6 (against Essendon), and to that point, Cameron had been good, but certainly not this good. Since then, Cameron has flourished. He had 21 disposals in round eight, followed by 26 in the Round 12 win against Hawthorn, while kicking six goals to take his season tally to 12. Most importantly, his confidence is sky-high and he seems to relish being the main man. The strong form that earned him a new three-year contract, announced on Sunday, is a good problem for the Pies to have, but a problem nonetheless. - Trent Masenhelder

Darcy Cameron and Lachie Keeffe compete in the ruck in Collingwood's win over GWS in round 15, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

5. If tone-setting was a statistic, Jack Viney would rank as elite

After three straight losses amid a horror month for Melbourne, the reigning premiers were in the spotlight on Thursday night against Brisbane, who had taken the No.1 spot on the ladder off the Demons. But it wasn’t to be for long, with the Demons powering to an impressive big win as they demolished the Lions. Viney was at the centre of it. The former co-captain took on the reins as skipper with Max Gawn missing through injury and immediately set the tone for his side. The hardened midfielder has had an excellent season but put in perhaps his best game of the year when it really mattered, gathering 34 disposals, of which 19 were contested, and eight clearances. - Callum Twomey

Jack Viney after Melbourne's win over Brisbane in round 15 on June 23, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

6. JK can still be a match-winner

Champion forward Josh Kennedy's five-goal performance against Essendon on Friday night was a reminder of the champion forward's enduring ability as a clutch performer in his 17th season. In a year that has seen the Eagles' forwards starved of supply and opportunities to shine, it's been easy to forget what the 34-year-old is capable of. He stepped up at the critical moment at Optus Stadium on Friday night to remind us, however, converting a snap set shot from 45m on the boundary to put the Eagles in a winning position late in the game. It was reminiscent of the match-winning goal he kicked against Richmond last season and a moment to savour in what is expected to be the Eagles' leading goalkicker's final season. – Nathan Schmook

02:19 Mins
Published on

Kennedy's big night leads Eagles to incredible win

Josh Kennedy's bag of five goals led the way for the Eagles to end their longest losing streak in club history

Published on

7. Under-the-radar new Blue was a smart pick-up 

It was all about Adam Cerra and George Hewett last October, but 15 rounds into 2022, Lewis Young is proving to be an equally valuable acquisition. Carlton’s ‘other’ recruit from last year’s trade period didn’t appear like an automatic selection when the paperwork was lodged. Now it has proven a shrewd piece of business by list manager Nick Austin. First Liam Jones retired, then Carlton lost Mitch McGovern, Oscar McDonald, Jacob Weitering and Caleb Marchbank, as well as mid-season recruit Sam Durdin. Young has played 11 of 14 games in navy blue, holding down a crucial role in a crumbling back six that has been undermanned and undersized for some time. The 23-year-old former Bulldog was important against Fremantle on Saturday and will continue to be the longer this season progresses. - Josh Gabelich

Carlton's Lewis Young and Fremantle's Rory Lobb in action in round 15 match at Marvel Stadium on June 25, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

8. Consistent Rozee is delivering the goods

We've seen snippets of Connor Rozee's brilliance over his first three seasons, but now the fleet-footed Port Adelaide midfielder is putting together a season that justifies his fifth pick in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft. Moved into a more permanent on-ball role this year, Rozee helped flip the momentum against Gold Coast with a high-impact third quarter that included two brilliant running goals. His hands in tight and his ability to zip in-and-out of traffic was a feature, and above all else the outing made it 10 straight matches where he's topped 20 disposals – a mark of the consistency that pundits were begging for earlier in his career. - Michael Whiting

00:44 Mins
Published on

Rozee raises roof with two pearlers in a row

Connor Rozee produces a pair of gems to give the Power back the lead

Published on

9. The fog has lifted on Walker's heir apparent

Darcy Fogarty played arguably the best match of his 50-game career against North Melbourne on Sunday, booting four goals and taking a spectacular mark as the Crows romped to a 57-point win. He's found some good form in recent weeks and looks to finally be fulfilling his potential as a key forward – and the future of the Crows' offensive unit. Since being taken with Adelaide's first pick in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft, Fogarty has been in and out of the Crows' side as he developed his craft, but the grand plan has always been for him to take over from Taylor Walker as the main spearhead. Despite his good form in 2022, Adelaide is yet to offer Walker a new contract, but the combination of the veteran and young Fogarty on Sunday stretched the Kangaroos' backline, yielding 10 goals, and will give the Crows plenty to think about. Fogarty is obviously the long-term succession plan, but he may have to keep playing second fiddle a little longer depending on whether the Crows decide life after Walker begins next year or in a few years' time. - Sophie Welsh

00:44 Mins
Published on

Darcy 'jumps into the fog' with big hanger

Darcy Fogarty gets the rise and takes a big grab before capping it off with a goal

Published on