Hot Pies, mighty Lions, and dismal Dons were some of the storylines throughout the early stages of round seven. Richmond flexed their muscles, West Coast continued to build and Port Adelaide won as a premiership favourite should when not at their best, whilst Melbourne said don't forget about us. How close is 2020? One only needs to look at Essendon and Melbourne, who both have a game in hand. Essendon - tenth - would leap to second if they won their game in hand. Whilst a Melbourne win would see them move from 12th to fifth.
Collingwood defeated Geelong by 22 points
Thursday night footy was highlighted by a commanding Collingwood performance. Shaky down back after Jeremy Howe went down two weeks ago, it appears the Pies have settled back into their new normal. Electrifying out of defence, Jordan De Goey did the work upfront, booting five goals in his return. Disappointingly, he'll now miss around a month with a finger injury.
In what could turn out to be a troubling night for the Cats, Joel Selwood will miss time with a hammy, whilst Gary Ablett has returned home due to personal reasons.
Western Bulldogs defeated Essendon by 42 points
The Western Bulldogs continued their ownership of Essendon with a seven-goal smashing of the Bombers. Alarmingly for Essendon, the scoreline probably flattered them. Tim English - 22 disposals and 7 marks - produced the best game statistically this season to lead the Bulldogs to a dominant victory. Throughout, the Bulldogs looked like ice-skaters, outnumbering the Bombers all over the field.
Brisbane defeated GWS by 20 points
Questions were asked of Brisbane after their horror third quarter last week. It always seemed a little dramatic. They responded like a team ready to win a premiership should. They always looked the better team. Harris Andrews was immense at the back whilst Zac Bailey had a day out with a brace of goals, 10 marks, and 18 touches. Just like that the Lions are the talk of the town again.
Gold Coast defeated Sydney by 32 points
Losers of two straight, Gold Coast had the chance to show how much they had truly improved. Had they lost their confidence? Absolutely not. Whilst the Swans hang around, through their efficient finishing, the Gold Coast was always a class or two above.
Izak Rankine - two brilliant goals - is becoming the poster boy for those who believe you learn the best playing in the streets. Once again his work around goals showed the type of instinct you only learn playing with your mates during the lunch break! Hugh Greenwood and Brandon Ellis continue to churn out inspiring work through the middle. If you didn't believe it, you must now, the Suns can play finals football.
Richmond defeated North Melbourne by 54 points
Where did it all go wrong for the plucky North Melbourne? They join Adelaide as season over after their third loss in a row. On the other hand, Richmond continues to build. They suffocated North with their aggressive pressure causing havoc all over the pitch.
The Tigers may own a rather extensive unavailable list, not to mention the quality on this list, but they continue to show the next man up mentality that is the envy of the league. Unheralded Tigers Shai Bolton and Derek Smith were the latest to dominate a game for the yellow and black.
Port Adelaide defeated Carlton by 3 points
A strong Gabba crowd was treated to a delightful game of football. Carlton - who trailed by three goals early in the first quarter - looked like they would be the first team to turn a three quarter time deficit into a win this season.
Port had other ideas. They peppered the goals for the game's final three minutes. Missing twice from in front, it appeared they had squandered both their early lead and late chances. Producing a perfect final 40 seconds, Port found Robbie Gray on a brilliant lead who marked in their pocket. With the siren sounding, the Dom Sheed drop punt would be required. Gray's effort never looked like missing as a loud Carlton crowd was left broken-hearted.
Melbourne defeated Hawthorn by 43 points
Hawthorn, it is time to swing the trades. Rebuild time. Melbourne has delivered a crushing blow to Hawthorn's list stuck in no man's land. The heat is about to come hard on the Hawks. Essendon and North should be sending thank you cards after their performances this week, the Hawks have gotten them off the hook.
Melbourne - who have suddenly jumped to three wins - looked like the team who made the preliminary final in 2018 again. They had dash, courage, toughness and, perhaps most importantly, used the ball reasonably well.
West Coast defeated Fremantle by 30 points
30,000 fans were permitted to enter Optus Stadium; Australian sport took a large step towards some sense of normality. Having spent nearly two months in Queensland, this must have been a blissful experience for these two teams. Certainly, it was for all, Dwayne Russell even remarked he was enjoying hearing the boos again.
On the field, it was the Eagles who made it three on the trot. Ageing Josh Kennedy, celebrating 250 AFL games was the hero booting four goals. Battling on without Captain Nat Fyfe, Fremantle looked a chance early in the fourth but failed to capitalise on two golden chances. The Eagles ran out deserved five goal winners.
St Kilda defeated Adelaide by 23 points
Adelaide - who last tasted victory against St Kilda in August last year - slumped to their tenth consecutive defeat. Giving the Saints everything they could handle; Adelaide's first win looked on the cards as they pulled within 9 points midway through the final term.
St Kilda - with plenty to prove after last week's horrendous loss - would pull away to a four-goal win. It wasn't always perfect, yet, for the Saints, it might just be the best type of win right now. Considered downhill skiers at times, a gritty road win that ended with you arresting momentum from the home team does plenty to start to expel that theory.