In Round 21 we saw a champion of the game put on one last (thrilling!) show and a young Tiger cement himself as one of the best players in the AFL, but one clumsy ruckman needs to clean up his dirty act. Here are whose stocks are up and down.
Our footy experts cast their eye over the week's action to find out whose stocks are up -- whether it's a coaching masterstroke or a player having a blinder -- and whose are down. Every club features, so jump ahead to your team below (desktop only).
Stocks up: His occasion was overshadowed slightly by Josh Kennedy's retirement (and eight-goal effort), but Rory Laird saluted wonderfully for Adelaide in his 200th game. The battle-hardened midfielder was one of the Crows' best, picking up 36 disposals, 10 clearances, five tackles, and two goals. Three votes and four points in his 200th - an outstanding afternoon by anyone's standards.
Stocks down: He's on the road towards getting back to peak fitness, but Wayne Milera didn't have a great afternoon against the Eagles. He finished with nine disposals and two turnovers, but he wasn't the only offender, with 10 Crows (including Will Hamill who was subbed out with concussion) finished with fewer than 10 disposals. Against a weaker opposition, teams can probably get away with this, against classier foes, the Crows would want to see a lifted and more consistent performance across the board.
Stocks up: Whether he's streaking up and down the wing, in a contest, or getting loose in the forward Zac Bailey is a problem for opposition teams. He was magnificent against the Blues, kicking four goals and directly assisting in two other majors among a 19-disposal game. He's a genuine match-winner for the Lions, and it's bizarre to think he's still just 22 years of age.
Stocks down: It just wasn't Joe Daniher's afternoon. On a day in which the Lions ran rampant, becoming the first team this season to put 100 points on the Blues, Daniher was kept scoreless and finished with just seven disposals.
Stocks up: Coming on midway into the last term as the sub, Corey Durdin showed why he's too good to be sitting on the pine for most of the match. He was lively around the ball, has good balance and speed, and kicked one of the goals of the year from tight in the pocket to keep the Blues in the game late. He offers more that Matt Owies who should probably make way.
Stocks down: With the club's season on the line, the last thing you want from your skipper is an incident which will result in a suspension, and Patrick Cripps' careless late hit on on Callum Ah Chee could cost his side finals. The Blues are already likely to fall out of the eight, but missing their best player, the task to win at least one of their next two games (against Melbourne and Collingwood) seems almost impossible.
Stocks up: For 10 weeks the Magpies have been a great story but after an epic win over the reigning premier (the second time in 2022) it's fair to say their premiership credentials have hit an all time high. The stat sheet will say the Pies should never have beaten Melbourne but there's a real resilience about Craig McRae's side that could prove valuable come September.
Stocks down: He's made a real impact in season 2022 but young Jack Ginnivan was very quiet against the Demons. The Collingwood No. 33 failed to hit the scoreboard in what was a high-scoring affair, finishing the night with just four kicks.
Stocks up: It was a career-best return of four goals for Matt Guelfi, who managed to nail his chances in front of the big sticks despite his side having a shocker. Fair play to him - it's been a solid year for the utility; he's booted 17 goals this season and has carved out an important niche going forward.
Stocks down: It was a dirty day for Harry Jones who had just one disposal to his name midway through the final term. He finished up with three kicks but had virtually no impact on the game. He's going to be a star of the competition but that's a performance he'll want to move on from very quickly, as will a number of his Bombers teammates, who lacked forward pressure (they laid just one tackle inside 50 for the game!).
Stocks up: Many, including us in this column, have questioned Freo's premiership credentials in recent weeks but what a statement the side made on Saturday afternoon. The Dockers played measured, efficient footy at Marvel Stadium and showed great maturity to consistently stave off the Bulldogs and keep their nose in front throughout the contest. Very impressive outing.
Stocks down: For maybe the first time in his career, you've got to question David Mundy's decision making. Last week the Dockers veteran announced he will be hanging up the boots at season's end, bringing a close to a glittering career in purple. The news came one week after playing a starring role, albeit in a loss to the Demons and was followed up with another display of elite field kicking and clever ball use. Play on, David!
Stocks up: Saturday night against the Saints was a stage for Geelong's lesser names to shine. In the absence of Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood, among others, Brandon Parfitt dominated in the midfield. He ended his night with 25 disposals, 10 clearances and five inside 50s. Rhys Stanley returned to the team and played a major role with 16 disposals, two contested marks, five clearances and seven score involvements. And then there was Max Holmes, who might have played the best game of his young career - 21 disposals, 10 contested possessions and a goal.
Stocks down: Haven't those Cats critics quietened down? Geelong is too old. Geelong is too slow. They were the headlines at the beginning of the season, but with two rounds to play, the Cats sit atop the ladder, having secured yet another top four finish. Right now they appear to be the team to beat in September.
Stocks up: Hasn't Elijah Hollands burst onto the scene with aplomb? He's only played a handful of games, but was arguably one of the Suns' best in the disappointing loss to the Hawks, kicking two goals and tallying 23 touches and 521 metres gained. We like what we see!
Stocks down: Wayward kicking for goal may have completely ended Gold Coast's finals hopes. The suns were wildly inaccurate on Saturday afternoon, kicking 8.15. The actually had thee more scoring shots than the Hawks, but lost by seven points. With the season on the line (and as unlikely as finals were) you just have to be better.
Stocks up: If Mark McVeigh's aim when he claimed some of his players had "checked out" of the season after a dreadful loss to the Swans last week was to incite a response from said players, then he achieved everything he intended to. One of those - Jesse Hogan, was absolutely superb against the Bombers on the weekend, and it only adds to an underrated season by the key forward. Hogan slotted 4.2 from 17 disposals and took 12 marks at GIANTS Stadium, and he has now booted at least one major in 14 of his 16 games in 2022.
Stocks down: Scrolling down the list of charges laid by the Match Review Officer from Saturday's match, it's hard to believe Braydon Preuss isn't on it (again). His late, high clip of Zach Merrett was looked at but thrown out by the MRO, who has clearly failed in this instance to stamp out intentional head-high contact. Braydon, clean up your grubby act - you're developing a reputation for being a thug, having been cited in preseason for dangerous tackle on Brodie Grundy, in Round 4 against Fremantle, Round 14 against the Bulldogs, and Round 21 against Sydney. As Michael Christian, the MRO? For goodness sake, some consistency.
Stocks up: For the second time in three weeks Jack Gunston's stocks are on the rise. The clever Hawk snagged another five goals down in Tasmania, leading his side to a win over the Suns. Gunston's smarts around goal are second to none and any talk of the Hawks offering him up at season's end should be put to bed. Also, a shoutout to Finn Maginness who kept Brownlow Medal smokey Touk Miller quiet, executing a sensational run-with role.
Stocks down: Is Jarman Impey's career close to being over? Impey crossed from Port Adelaide five years back and hasn't really had the impact he or Hawks fans would have hoped for, some of it down to injury. On the weekend he failed to impress, even giving away several free kicks which certainly didn't help his case to remain in what's an average side, at best.
Stocks up: The Melbourne Big Three of Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca were absolutely superb on Friday night, which makes the loss to Collingwood even tougher to swallow. The trio combined for 109 disposals, 27 clearances, 20 inside 50s and 14 tackles at the MCG and could easily pick up all six Brownlow Medal votes. How did they lose!?
Stocks down: You can't criticise the Magpies, calling them a "one trick pony," and then lose to them for the second time in 2022. Sorry, Ed Langdon, but you're a villain this week. Langdon played well and, as expected, was booed by the Collingwood faithful every time the Sherrin was in his hands.
Stocks up: A big loss, sure, but a big bag for big Souv (too many 'bigs'?)! Nick Larkey booted seven majors for the Roos in what was a bright spot on an otherwise disappointing day under the roof of Marvel Stadium. Along with the goals, Larkey also clunked three contested marks to remind the comp that while North might be in a rut, there is talent on the park. With some more supply and more support, he could yet become something special.
Stocks down: Jaidyn Stephenson had plenty of the ball on Sunday afternoon but you really have to question some of his decision making. At times he looks unable to defend a turnover, almost walking back towards goal as the opposition leaves him in its wake. And then there was the kick in clanger late which led to a Lance Franklin goal. Winning plenty of ball is one thing but you've just got to be better in other areas.
Stocks up: It hasn't been the season Zac Butters had hoped for but the Port youngster was his side's best player in a tough loss to the Tigers. Butters tallied 28 disposals, 13 contested possessions and kicked a goal.
Stocks down: It's official (if it wasn't already) but Port Adelaide will not play finals in 2022. It's a bitterly disappointing result for a side many had predicted could go all the way this season after making real progress in recent years. Though contracted, you have to wonder about Ken Hinkley's future. To go from back-to-back preliminary final appearances to missing finals altogether is a clear sign things aren't moving in the right direction.
Stocks up: There's no hyperbole here but is Shai Bolton a top seven player in the competition? We think he just might be. Richmond's dynamo was superb at the Adelaide Oval, keeping his side's finals aspirations alive with a 17-disposal, four goals (and five behinds) game. Just imagine if he could kick straight...
Stocks down: It was a bruising night for Nick Vlastuin who was subbed out of the contest early in the second half after taking a bone-crunching knee to the ribs, courtesy of Power big man Charlie Dixon. Vlastuin stayed on the turf for a few moments after the contact before coming from the ground and making his way to the second row of the bench. Ouch!
Stocks up: Brad Crouch is having a sneaky good season for the Saints. Once again the former Crow was at his prolific best, winning 28 disposals against the Geelong at GMHBA Stadium, but it was the 11 tackles he laid which will have pleased Brett Ratten most. In 2022, Crouch is averaging 27 disposals, seven tackles and six clearances per game. Deserves more credit than he gets.
Stocks down: A 10 goal loss to a severely undermanned Cats outfit is confidence shattering for a side battling like crazy to play finals in 2022. The Saints were completely outplayed by a host of Geelong's second stringers, as the likes of Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood, Mark Blicavs and Gary Rohan watched on from the sidelines. With games to come against the Lions and Swans, it's hard to make a case this team is featuring in September.
Stocks up: What's the ceiling for Chad Warner? Another game, another three goals from 20 disposals and some of the best ball use you'll see, particularly from someone who's still just 21 years of age. Warner had an equal game-high 11 score involvements and just looks dangerous every single time the ball is in his hands. He's so creative and exciting to watch.
Stocks down: The McCartin brothers have formed a great defensive partnership for the Swans in 2022 but it was a day to forget for the pair, who combined for just three marks for the game and were unable to intercept the way we've become accustomed to seeing. North Melbourne, the worst team in the competition, scored on every second inside 50, and Nick Larkey was able to get off the chain to kick seven goals.
Stocks up: Take a bow, Josh Kennedy. What a fantastic finish to an unbelievably good career. Premiership player, 723 goals, two Coleman Medals - it ws only fitting he kicked eight on his home deck to salute the Eagles crowd one last time. He did his darndest to give the Eagles a shot at causing a boilover, and while his efforts weren't quite enough, it didn't really matter; the scenes after the game were just wonderful, and footy is worse off for not having JK anymore. Enjoy retirement!
Stocks down: The West Coast forward line has taken a massive step backwards with the retirement of Kennedy. He showed he can still dominate a game, and now the torch has officially been passed to Jack Darling, who is 30 years of age himself. Oscar Allen will return next season to bolster the forward line stocks but it's looking a little thin right now.
Stocks up: Do we think Josh Dunkley liked the Robodog guernsey? He was magnificent for the Dogs in an excellent throwback jumper that surely has a place for the Dogs every year going forward. The white collar, the comically basic bulldog motif - it's just wonderful. As for Dunkley, he was the Dogs' best in the loss to Fremantle, picking up 33 disposals, six clearances, and a goal. That's 17 majors this year for the versatile midfielder who is yet to recommit to the red, white, and blue.
Stocks down: You've got to question the Bulldogs' effort. Over the past eight quarters we've seen them dominate the Cats, have 10 goals booted on them in the space of 30 minutes, gift the Dockers a big lead and then try desperately to peg them back. For a side battling tooth and nail to play in September, the lack of consistency at the crunch point of the season is very concerning.