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1. Josh Caddy has timed his breakout game to perfection
Geelong's midfield depth was tested on Friday night with star onballer Steve Johnson and utility Jimmy Bartel missing. But Josh Caddy showed against Carlton that he is ready to carry more of the Cats' midfield load this September. The 21-year-old played his best game for Geelong since crossing from Gold Coast at the end of 2012, racking up a career-high 28 possessions (16 contested). The Blues convincingly won the clearance count 33-25, but Caddy teamed with Joel Selwood to keep the Cats in the hunt at stoppages. If Caddy can take some pressure off Selwood and Johnson in the upcoming finals series, the Cats could upset premiership favourites Sydney Swans and Hawthorn. – Nick Bowen

2. The Swans' depth is about to be tested
Injuries were a major hindrance for the Swans last season, but they have enjoyed some better luck this year. There have been some exceptions, with Kurt Tippett, Lance Franklin, Dan Hannebery and Rhyce Shaw among those to miss games, but overall injuries haven't been a major issue. But Josh Kennedy picked up a hamstring problem against St Kilda and was quickly subbed out in the first quarter. Craig Bird then damaged his knee in the same game, while Hannebery and Sam Reid suffered knocks to their legs. Coach John Longmire said Ben McGlynn (calf) is unlikely to return to face the Bulldogs this week, while Nick Smith (back) and Shaw (ankle) will need to get through training. There will be plenty of interest in Kennedy this week, in particular, a man yet to miss a game since joining the Swans. Granted they do still have Tom Mitchell and Zak Jones among those in the reserves, but losing key personnel in mid-August is far from ideal. – James Dampney

WATCH: Showreel - Franklin piles on nine in milestone game
3. Dyson Heppell is a serious Brownlow Medal chance
We said it weeks ago and as the end of the season draws nearer it's becoming more and more obvious: if Heppell doesn't win the Brownlow this year, then it might only be a matter of time. The 22-year-old Essendon star did his chances for the 2014 'Charlie' no harm on Saturday night, with a match-turning display against West Coast. With only 10 disposals to half-time, Heppell gathered 28 in the second half to will his side over the line. It was another outstanding display in a brilliant season, and the ninth game this year he has found 30 or more disposals. Heppell won 10 votes last year but is a much improved player this season. Watch for his name on Brownlow night. – Callum Twomey

4. Stefan Martin is a star
Brisbane Lions coach Justin Leppitsch caused some consternation after his team's brilliant win over an injury-ravaged Collingwood when he suggested that ruckman Stefan Martin is a good chance to win the club's best and fairest. Indeed, it seems unlikely that Martin will gain more votes than inspirational midfielder Tom Rockliff, who continued his rampaging form by gathering 43 disposals against the Magpies. Yet there is no doubt that Martin is having a great impact on games. The 197cm former Melbourne big man, who can run like a midfielder, blitzed Collingwood duo Brodie Grundy and Jarrod Witts on Saturday night, racking up 32 disposals and 27 hit-outs. – Adam McNicol

WATCH: Magpies lose three in MCG nightmare
5. Fremantle should fear no one in the finals
For all Fremantle's gains in the past 18 months, there has been a feeling that all roads to a Docker flag go through Hawthorn. Not only does last year's Grand Final loss still burn, but heading into Sunday's clash they had failed to beat the Hawks under Ross Lyon, conceding nine of the past 10 to the Hawks overall. Rolling the reigning premiers at Patersons Stadium was, therefore, non-negotiable, and the emphatic nature of the win should substantially boost the Dockers' confidence in their flag credentials. The manic pressure was back, their clearance dominance returned and they found the elusive scoring power Lyon has so desperately craved. With the double chance firmly within their grasp and a sizeable monkey now shifted from their backs, the Dockers are back in contention. – Alex Malcolm

6. North's tall forwards are hitting form when it matters
North Melbourne's key forwards have come under the microscope more than most this season, but Drew Petrie, Aaron Black and Ben Brown looked a much more cohesive unit against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday. Though the tall trio will face sterner opponents in finals, their combined six goals, 49 possessions and 21 marks was the biggest positive to come from the 50-point win. North has little in reserve in its key forward stocks, so the Roos will be pinning plenty of their hopes on their three big men standing up come finals. – Travis King

7. Robbie Gray is no one-trick pony
It looked like being a long day for silky Port Adelaide midfielder Robbie Gray when Suns stopper Danny Stanley went to him at the first bounce. It was wet and slippery and not a day for exquisite skills, and after just three disposals in the first term, Stanley looked on top. But Gray persisted, was used everywhere from full forward to half-forward to on-ball and eventually became one of the most influential players on the ground. Not only did he finish with 26 touches, nine clearances, 11 inside 50s and a goal, but he also allowed Hamish Hartlett (24 and one goal) to roam free without an opponent. In space or in tight, Gray showed he is just as effective. – Michael Whiting

8. Greater Western Sydney's midfield is about to get dangerous
The Giants have talent to burn but their young guns have rarely had the chance to shine. Against Melbourne they had that chance, destroying the Demons on the spread and running harder and quicker than an opposition suffering its worst outing for the season. Dylan Shiel moves like a young Chris Judd, Josh Kelly looks like Scott Pendlebury at the start of his career, Adam Treloar has Trent Cotchin-like qualities and Devon Smith is a high half-forward in the mould of Ryan O'Keefe. Much has been made of the tall forwards on the Giants' list but when their midfielders mature they will be a hard bunch to stop. – Peter Ryan

9. Seven other teams won't want to play Richmond in September
It might have left its run too late, but if Richmond could sneak into the top eight and qualify for this season's finals campaign, it's capable of causing some serious damage. The Tigers' seventh-straight win showcased the immense belief in the playing group that now exists, as it somehow wrestled back control of the game in the last quarter, in front of a hostile Crows' crowd. It was an effort of significant character from the Tigers and one that could be replicated in September – if they're still alive. – Harry Thring

Watch the last two minutes from Saturday night's Adelaide-Richmond thriller