Main content

9 things we learnt in Round 7

Top 10 AFL Moments of Round 7 Check out the AFL's top moments of Round 7.

1. Sicily is in All Australian form
James Sicily might be the opposition's enemy No.1 and at times a source of frustration for Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson, but he is no longer a budding star – he is a star. Yes, he ensured too much attention was placed on his flaws with two ordinary acts that resulted in one-game suspensions this season. But, Sicily has established himself as one of the Hawks' best players – he was the best on Saturday against Essendon – and his performances stack up well with the AFL's best defenders. The 23-year-old is averaging 25 disposals (17.2 of which are kicks, at an elite 83.4 per cent efficiency) in his five games in 2018, along with eight marks, 9.2 intercept possessions, 5.2 rebound 50s and 3.4 inside 50s. However, Sicily won't have endeared himself to many opposition fans with his cheeky 'low five' to Bombers forward Joe Daniher after his monster goal in the third term (though some Hawthorn fans may have enjoyed it). - Marc McGowan

Read: Five talking points - Hawthorn v Essendon

2. Time to earn your stripes, General
Coach Leon Cameron didn't hold back when assessing Jonathon Patton's performance against Geelong – he knows his key forward must lift if the Giants are to maintain contact with the AFL's top teams. Patton was ineffectual against the Cats, taking just three marks and going goalless in the rout. Circumstances dictated that Patton had to spend more time in the ruck than what the Giants were hoping for, but when Rory Lobb returns next week there are no excuses. Patton has kicked just four goals from six games and GWS need the former No.1 pick to lift that output to address its scoring worries. Without Jeremy Cameron (toe), 'The General' Patton is the man in charge and the Giants need him to step up and lead their cavalry. - Ben Guthrie

3. The real Angus Brayshaw is back
After playing just 15 games in the previous two seasons, Angus Brayshaw had to force his way back into Melbourne's senior team this year. The former No.3 draft pick's struggles in 2016 and 2017 were mainly due to a string of concussions, so it was surprising when he was overlooked for round one after a solid pre-season. But after earning a recall in round four against Hawthorn, Brayshaw had made a solid return – until Sunday's game against St Kilda. The midfielder was one of the Demons' best players against the Saints, racking up a career-high 32 possessions – his previous best was 26 – along with eight inside 50s, five clearances, three rebound 50s and a goal. After the game, Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said Brayshaw had worked hard to regain his confidence over the past 12 months, but now appeared ready to excel in the inside role he was drafted for. "It's exciting for us as a club to have Angus back to his best," Goodwin said. - Nick Bowen

4. Maybe the game still is exciting - and the players can kick straight
Following a week in which debate about the state of the game reached fever pitch, Collingwood and Brisbane proved the sport is still in good shape. With 20.3 between the teams at half-time, it was the most accurate display of goalkicking in a half in VFL/AFL history. But more than that, the game was a great advertisement for attacking footy. End-to-end action, momentum swings, lead changes, 37 goals, high marks and great kicking – maybe we can take a deep breath and realise it's not all bad. - Michael Whiting

5. JJ could be an electrifying small forward
Jason Johannisen made his name as a dashing defender, as his Norm Smith Medal attests, but he also seems to have what it takes to be dangerous in attack. The signs were ominous for the Bulldogs when they were three goals behind an injury-ravaged Gold Coast at Ballarat on Saturday after managing just one major themselves, but a Johannisen-inspired burst of four goals in as many minutes proved decisive. 'JJ' started the ball rolling with a contested mark and goal and seemed to have a hand in every forward thrust during a hot period. He played the role in the mould of an Eddie Betts or a Cyril Rioli, giving Dogs coach Luke Beveridge cause to consider a more permanent role in a makeshift attack. With his eye-catching shock of bottle-blond hair, Johannisen already looks the part of a glamour forward. - Ben Collins 

6. The score review system is a confusing beast
Billy Hartung's goal against Sydney was the latest in a long list of head scratchers, and it's time for the League to prioritise what is most important when it comes to the score review. Now it seems like a stand-off between making sure correct decisions are made and the quest to keep the game moving. If an umpire calls for a review we're watching multiple replays from various angles as the game stands still, but in a case like Hartung's goal, in the words of the League, "there was not enough definitive evidence to overrule and change the decision in time before the restart of play." The system was brought in to eliminate mistakes, so surely time is a non-factor, otherwise let's just back our officials on the field. In recent weeks, AFL footy boss Steve Hocking has asked officials to make decisions within 20-30 seconds or else defer back to the original call, which eliminates any major delays in play. But what if a call needs to be made in the last 30 seconds of a Grand Final? Do we really want a time limit placed on a massive decision that could cost a team a premiership? Let's be clear, the Hartung goal wasn't the reason North won the game, but another minute to get the call right must be worth it. Players, coaches and fans deserve that. - Adam Curley

7. Jack Redden is becoming the player West Coast always hoped he would be
It started in the second half of last season, when Adam Simpson threw things around to find answers to a misfiring engine room and Redden received more opportunity in his preferred inside midfield position. He produced easily his most consistent football since joining the Eagles at the end of 2015, averaging nearly 25 touches in the final nine games, and looked primed to take another step after Simpson labelled him the club's best pre-season trainer. A slow start had some scratching their heads but, in the past two games, Redden has been simply outstanding. The former Lion returned 34 touches and a goal in the Western Derby and, after Luke Shuey went down in the opening minutes against Port Adelaide, he went to work again, notching 32 touches, eight clearances and a goal. Coming into 2018 there were major question marks hovering over the Eagles' midfield, which was seemingly short on A-grade talent, but Redden and Co. have had a point to prove and – with the likes of Chris Masten and Mark Hutchings playing roles to a tee - West Coast's onball division is batting much deeper than we thought. - Travis King

8. The Tigers are tough, fast, talented...and fit 
Thanks to the Anzac Day Eve clash with Melbourne and then the five-day turnaround before playing Collingwood last week, Richmond's MCG clash with the Dockers was the Tigers' third game in 13 days. Both coaches mentioned it at three-quarter time on Sunday and after an improved third term, perhaps the Dockers thought they had a sniff. Perhaps not. Eight goals to none was Richmond’s response in the final term. It was impressive and emphatic. How will they go against North next Sunday, with you know, a seven-day break? Very well, we expect, particularly with skipper Trent Cotchin expected to return. - Ashley Browne

Read: How social media saw it - Round 7

9. Underrated Crows veteran proving his worth ahead of massive Showdown 
Any discussion of the Adelaide midfield centres on Rory Sloane, Matt Crouch and Bryce Gibbs, but Richard Douglas needs to be in that conversation. The 31-year-old continues to get the job done week after week, turning in another strong performance in his side's 55-point thumping of Carlton at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night. Douglas had 28 disposals at 85 per cent efficiency, 13 contested possessions, eight clearances, five inside 50s and booted two goals. He won the Crows' best and fairest in 2011, but doesn't grab the headlines of his more recognised teammates. He definitely warrants more recognition as the third-placed Crows (5-2) prepare to face Port Adelaide on Saturday. - Lee Gaskin

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs