IN THIS week's Nine Things We Learned, we discover that Paddy McCartin's exceptional talent is finally getting the chance to flourish, Nat Fyfe will be a massive factor in Freo's flag push and a young Roo is coming into his own. 

Check out these lessons and more as our team runs their eyes over round 17. 

06:08 Mins
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The 10: Round 17's best moments

Watch the best highlights from an entertaining round of football

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1. Paddy McCartin is critical to the Swans' flag hopes

This time last year the former No.1 pick was playing VFL hoping to prove to clubs he was ready for an AFL recall. A season on and McCartin is a crucial part of Sydney's premiership hopes, with the key defender now an intercept-mark king in the competition. He was at it again on Friday night in the Swans' win over the Western Bulldogs, with McCartin dominant in defence with 14 grabs and 22 disposals in his 50th game at the top level. McCartin's comeback story is already well told, as it should be, but his impact has also been significant, reminding people why he was so highly rated in his draft year. - Callum Twomey

Paddy McCartin flies for a mark in Sydney's win over the Western Bulldogs in round 17, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

2. Fyfe has gone from bonus forward to flag factor

Nat Fyfe started Saturday's game against St Kilda in the forward line and looked like he would stay there, but with Fremantle trailing at half-time and needing an adrenaline injection, Justin Longmuir put his skipper in the guts and got just that - guts by the bucketload and class we'd almost forgotten the dual Brownlow medallist has. Fyfe switched momentum his side's way and had a hand in everything as the Dockers ran away with the contest. After missing 16 games from round 19 last year, Fyfe was looking like playing the role of a powerful mid-sized forward in Freo's campaign, but a reassessment is needed: he could be the difference between silverware and a cupboard that's bare. - Howard Kimber

01:57 Mins
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Freakish Fyfe one of the heroes at Marvel with three

Dockers skipper Nat Fyfe plays a pivotal role in his side's impressive win with three goals and a host of strong marks

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3. Carlton won't join the best until it eliminates its worst

The thrilling best and head-shaking worst of Carlton were both on display inside a half at Optus Stadium on Sunday. Keeping West Coast scoreless in the opening term with organisation and defensive discipline, the Blues' best will scare anyone. But they were then sucked into playing the Eagles' game and became the first team to concede seven goals in a quarter to the 17th-placed club this season. No moment summed up their lack of discipline in that time like captain Patrick Cripps' decision not to handball to Sam Walsh when he had the option inside 50, leading to a holding the ball free kick and a goal at the other end of the ground. Charlie Curnow sparked the team and they eventually piled on the goals in a fearsome finsih that has them on the edge of the top four. But quarters like the second will prevent the Blues from getting where they otherwise appear very capable of in 2022. - Nathan Schmook

THE RUN HOME Tigers' top-four hopes fade, Lions need a win

Patrick Cripps kicks for goal in Carlton's win over West Coast in round 17, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

4. Dangerfield primed to lead Cats' push for elusive flag

Geelong was conservative with Patrick Dangerfield's return to action over the past few weeks and wanted him primed for the final sprint of the season. The decision to do so paid immediate dividends as Dangerfield was at his brilliant best in the Cats' 28-point win over Melbourne. The 2016 Brownlow medallist looked refreshed and rejuvenated against the Dees' star-studded midfield corps, leading from the front from the onset. Dangerfield ended the night with 32 disposals, nine clearances, eight inside 50s along with an incredible 702 metres gained to cap off a season-best showing. This kind of form can only benefit the top-of-the-ladder Geelong throughout the run home and into September as the Cats look to end their 11-year wait for an elusive premiership. - Nick D'Urbano

Patrick Dangerfield evades Clayton Oliver during the R17 clash between Geelong and Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium on July 7, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

5. Electric Power gun is in All-Australian squad contention

Like Port Adelaide, Connor Rozee had a slow start to 2022, but since round five he's had 20+ disposals in every game. Rozee's point of difference among the AFL's elite midfielders is his scoreboard impact, with his four goals against GWS underlining that. Rozee is enjoying a purple patch, booting 11 goals in the past six games for the Power. This season he's also been used more around stoppages and has raised his game with a career-high 3.1 clearances per game. We've always known about his talent but this year he's finding consistency and becoming battle hardened physically for the midfield role. - Ben Somerford

00:54 Mins
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Rozee puts through fourth with ripping checkside finish

Connor Rozee kicks his fourth goal of the match as the Power continue to stamp their authority

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6. No doubt about it, this Kangaroo is an A-grade midfielder

One of the sadder aspects of North Melbourne's lacklustre season is that it has eclipsed the fact that Luke Davies-Uniacke is having a very, very good year. And it's no coincidence that his best game all season coincided with North's strongest performance in a very long time. The midfielder was a bull at stoppages, winning a mammoth 12 clearances despite the Pies dominating the hitouts. With 33 disposals, 11 tackles, 14 inside 50s, eight score assists and 791m gained, Davies-Uniacke pretty much strapped the Kangaroos on his back and carried them as far as he could. The Pies tightened up on him in the final term, which played a part in North's decline. There aren't many bright spots at North at the moment, but Davies-Uniacke is giving Roos fans something to smile about. – Sophie Welsh

Luke Davies-Uniacke in action during the round 17 clash between North Melbourne and Collingwood at the MCG on July 9, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

7. There's still a role for an attacking tagger

With Brisbane sporting a depleted team, Ben Rutten decided to lock down on stand-in skipper Lachie Neale – and Jye Caldwell was his man. Caldwell, now in his fourth season, has found a regular home in the Bombers' midfield in 2022, but played the best game of his short career by keeping the 2020 Brownlow medallist to 21 disposals and gathering 26 of his own. With Brisbane surging in the final term, the 21-year-old jumped clear from a centre clearance and banged home a goal from 50m to ice the four premiership points. His ability to both defend Neale and attack at the same time was first-class. - Michael Whiting

00:50 Mins
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Caldwell's runner gives Dons much-needed reply

Jye Caldwell kicked this long-range ripper to extend his side's crucial lead late in the final term

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8. Ben Ainsworth is a game-changer

While teammate Noah Anderson rightfully grabbed the headlines for his incredible game-winner, Gold Coast half-forward Ben Ainsworth was a huge reason behind the Suns' remarkable turnaround against Richmond. The 24-year-old finished with 26 disposals, 14 marks and two goals against the Tigers, but it was his two-way workrate that really caught the eye. It was Ainsworth who tracked the ball back to win an intercept in the dying seconds that started the chain for Anderson's heroics. Now in his sixth season, Ainsworth has found a level of consistency that should see him strongly considered for the 40-man Therabody AFL All-Australian squad. - Michael Whiting

Ben Ainsworth celebrates Gold Coast's win over Richmond in round 17, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

9. Breakout Hawk is growing in front of our eyes

Mitch Lewis' breakout season keeps getting better and better. The 23-year-old has leapt back up the Coleman Medal leader board after slotting five goals to help swipe away Adelaide at Marvel Stadium on Sunday. Lewis had five on the board by halfway through the second quarter and looked set for a monster day, before being well held in the second half. But by then, the emerging spearhead had done his job. Lewis is now up to 36 for the season from 12 games. Only Carlton star Charlie Curnow has averaged more goals per game than Lewis in 2022. Imagine if he had played every game this season… - Josh Gabelich

01:51 Mins
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Lewis' early high-five catches Crows by surprise

Mitch Lewis does all the damage in the first half with an impressive five-goal return

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