In Round 7 of the 2023 AFL season, more than a few key forwards kicked career-best bags -- none bigger than King Charles -- but the Swans choked away a lead at home ... again.
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: You can't ask much more of a ruck than what Adelaide asked of Reilly O'Brien. Needing a little more support in the midfield, O'Brien tallied 44 hitouts around the ground, took six marks, and dominated (as he should) against Billy Frampton. He was let down by his mids; the Pies finished +21 for clearances and +5 for centre clearances.
Stocks down: Symptomatic of the Crows' struggles in front of the sticks, Josh Rachele kicked 0.4 as his side booted 7.16 against the Pies.
Stocks up: The talk about the Rising Star award has been focused on Mitch Owens from St Kilda, and Harry Sheezel of North for the past couple of weeks ... well, there's a father-son Lion who has gently reminded us why he was the consensus best player in the 2022 draft. Will Ashcroft produced a compelling display in the midfield for the Lions; 28 disposals and two goals, including a Goal of the Year contender that would make Daniel Wells proud.
Stocks down: This is just a cheeky clip, but what has happened to Josh Dunkley, the goalkicking mid? Last year for the Dogs he was effectively used by the Bulldogs in the middle and up forward, booting 18 goals (a clear career high). So far with the Lions? He's 0.2 on the season.
Stocks up: When is the coronation again? King Charles went west and took the Eagles apart on Saturday night, booting a career-high nine goals and three behinds in the Blues' 108-point win. Curnow was too strong in the air and on the lead for the Eagles defenders; at times he had Shannon Hurn for company, also Tom Barrass, Josh Rotham, and even sub Rhett Bazzo, and none could come close to curtailing his influence. Well done, Charlie.
Stocks down: If your main man has kicked nine goals and your side is up 100 points with seven minutes to go in the fourth term, there are a few 'dos' and 'don'ts'. Do kick to him at every opportunity and try and get him to 10 goals. Do not bring him off the ground. The Blues couldn't get Charlie Curnow to 10 goals, and Vossy bizarrely brought him off for a two-minute spell with a few minutes to go!
Stocks up: Where do you start? Should it be Steele Sidebottom's 'winning behind'? What about Ash Johnson's smart tap to rush a Collingwood behind from a contest to draw level? It was just such a 'Collingwoody' win against the Crows - their 13th win out of the last 16 games decided by 11 points or fewer. Unreal!
Stocks down: Collingwood's stocks with the umpires seemed to take a hit on Sunday. Nathan Murphy was waved away despite a clear case of front-on contact (he was left bleeding from the contest), and Jordan De Goey was penalised for a kick along the ground which apparently lacked the sufficient intent. The Pies were hard done by, so much so that coach Craig McRae was left "astounded". "I lost my mind," McRae said. "One, whether it was a mark or free-kick, either you could argue. Then he had blood and he's trying to exit the field. We didn't have a chance to replace the player in a critical moment."
Stocks up: Credit to Sam Weideman. Traded to Essendon with some picks for a second rounder, he's definitely getting a bit more out of being a Bomber. Against the Cats, he kicked a career-high five majors, and while his team wasn't able to keep pace with the Cats, he certainly put on a performance that will have opposition defenders worried in coming weeks.
Stocks down: What is it about the Bombers and slow starts against the Cats? In three of the last four meetings between these teams, the Bombers have given up 30-point first-quarter leads. Against one of the best teams we've seen in this modern era, it's little wonder Essendon have lost their last five against the reigning premier. Behind from the outset, the Dons were never really back in the contest - despite a brief third quarter fightback.
Stocks up: Everyone talks about Caleb Serong and Andy Brayshaw as Freo's up and coming young stars, but Hayden Young should almost be in that conversation. At times he can be inconsistent with his output, but he was notable in the Dockers' loss at the Gabba on Saturday. Providing dash and run off half back and through the midfield, he picked up 33 disposals at 79%, and eight intercept possessions.
Stocks down: He's a promising young player, but Matthew Johnson's dangerous tackle on Brisbane's Dayne Zorko was terrible. He pinned the Lions veteran's arms, and slung him down head-first into the turf. The AFL is intent on stamping out these actions, and to see young players in particular (not that we're excusing older players, though they were taught differently as kids) still tackling like this is really disappointing. Deserved his two weeks.
Stocks up: Turns out you can teach an old dog -- or, Cat -- new tricks ... as long as that trick is kicking a new career-high number of goals. Tom Hawkins almost single-handedly sunk the Bombers on his own (or, at least with the help of Patrick Dangerfield!), kicking eight goals and one behind, including six to half time in a forward half blitz that has the competition sitting up and taking notice. Back-to-back is back on the menu.
Stocks down: It used to be the Cats after the bye, now it's the Cats in the early parts of the season. What's the deal? They're playing league-beating footy right now - a complete 180 from the first three rounds! Their last four scores? 127, 136, 130, 132. Sheesh.
Stocks up: We're starting to see the best of Ben King again! After a year out with an ACL in 2022, he's not been held goalless this year so far, and booted another four majors against the Tigers in the Suns' win on Sunday. His bag of four comes after last week's haul of five against the Kangaroos, putting his total for 2023 at 16 goals. In addition? He's incredibly accurate, having booted just three behinds in 2023.
Stocks down: Is Alex Sexton best used as a super sub? The lively forward lacked the impact he's sometimes known for, tallying just eight disposals and one behind in the Suns' win. He's been used effectively as the sub this year, having similar impact from 30% game time as he did from his 79% against the Tigers.
Stocks up: Can it be anyone other that Toby Greene? Just about the ultimate match-winner, the Giants' skipper produced a final term for the ages, booting two of his four goals in the last, including the matchwinner - a deft snap from a standing start under intense pressure. Greene was clearly best on ground and a worthy recipient of the Brett Kirk medal, finishing with four majors and 22 disposals. A genius.
Stocks down: Every week the Giants don't make their charcoal guernsey their official home jumper, is a week wasted. Get it sorted, guys.
Stocks up: Jai Newcombe is a star, and it's almost hard to believe he was a midseason draftee. The 21-year-old was again prominent for the Hawks in their loss to the Bulldogs, picking up 24 disposals, 10 clearances, and kicking two majors.
Stocks down: Wasn't Mitch Lewis the ultimate tease on Saturday? Finally back in the side, the key forward was almost irresistible in the first half, leading up and clunking nine marks. Looking like he was going to tear the game apart as the Hawks kept pace with the Dogs early, Lewis couldn't capitalise on his early dominance, finishing with 1.4 and 11 marks for the day. So close!
Stocks up: Three votes, Christian Petracca. The guy just looks so fit. Three goals, two direct goal assists, 35 disposals, 552 metres gained. An unreal stat line for an unreal player.
Stocks down: What's going on, Dees fans? Ski season hasn't yet commenced, you're playing at the MCG on a clear night, in a prime time slot, and just 29,455 turn up? Not good enough.
Stocks up: There isn't much to salvage from Saturday night, but Cam Zurhaar (three goals) and Harry Sheezel (30 disposals) continue to shine for the struggling Kangaroos.
Stocks down: Ouch, that one hurts. A 90-point loss to the Dees, in their first night home-and-away game at the MCG in a decade, is not ideal. Hard to find a winner on the park (or off it, Clarko) for the Roos, and the horrific Charlie Comben injury just adds to the pain. Fingers crossed he's in good spirits.
Stocks up: Take a bow, Jason Horne-Francis. Booed again (bizarrely, by St Kilda fans -- any ideas?), the young star was prolific in a midfield which dominates the Saints around the stoppage. Horne-Francis had 11 clearances (nine by half time!) and 17 contested possessions in a dominant display to help his side win a fourth-straight game and move well into the top eight. He's a beauty.
Stocks down: It doesn't look like good news for Xavier Duursma. Having just started to re-cement himself in the senior side, an innocuous looking collision with Rowan Marshall resulted in Duursma being subbed out at quarter time, most likely with a PCL injury. Hopefully it's not too serious.
Stocks up: He's been thrown into the deep end in the absence of Tom Lynch, but Samson Ryan is showing promising signs. A lanky, awkward lad, he's slowly getting control of his limbs. Two goals, 11 touches, five marks, and two tackles is a very solid return for the big man.
Stocks down: Need we mention Marvel Stadium? Need we mention the crowd? 23,664 is a really poor return, but credit to those who stayed home, at least they didn't have to watch that 6.12 dumpster fire in person.
Stocks up: The Saints are really starting to use Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera as a link-up player across half back. Shaking off a corkie at one point, the dashing defender was prominent running out of the backline, racking up 20 disposals (16 kicks) and 452 metres gained. His disposal is good, and decision making sound - for a 20-year-old, you can't ask much more.
Stocks down: You feel like Zaine Cordy is just treading water in this team until Max King comes back. Subbed out (again) with just one touch (a goal, in fairness) to his name, Ross Lyon said after the loss that Cordy is "playing a role". Let's be honest, barely.
Stocks up: How many times has Lance Franklin been declared washed? The 1,000-goal champion was vintage Buddy at times against the Giants (yes, even including a couple of easy misses) but he was a big presence in the Swans' forward 50, kicking 3.2 (and one out on the full) in the shock loss. Ideally the Swans use him less, but he's still a big focal point.
Stocks down: Why can't Sydney convert its inside 50s at the SCG? Much like the late, heartbreaking, two-point loss to Port Adelaide in Round 4, the Swans dominated the inside 50 count (and a number of other key stats) against the Giants, but couldn't convert their opportunities. Against the Giants? Won the inside 50s 63-48 (+15), lost the match by one point. Against Port? Won the inside 50s 67-45 (+22), lost the match by two points. Yeesh.
Stocks up: It was a dirty night for the Eagles, who really didn't have a winner at any position on the park in their 108-point loss to the Blues, but Xavier O'Neill tried his best to keep his side in the contest early, with two quick majors to go with his 16 disposals, five clearances, and five tackles on the night.
Stocks down: He came on as the sub when Sam Petrevski-Seton limped off, but Rhett Bazzo looked anything but ready to come on. Sent to Charlie Curnow (a tough ask, for sure), Bazzo looked at times disinterested and unfit trying to keep up with Curnow, despite having the fresh legs. He couldn't maintain close body checks, and was unable or unwilling to fly in contests with the contested marking beast.
Stocks up: Just stick Caleb Daniel wherever you need. The versatile utility had 26 possessions - 50% in the defensive half, and 50% in the attacking half, four intercept possessions, six score involvements, and kicked a major himself. He's in ripping form.
Stocks down: It was a down day for Cody Weightman, who tallied just three disposals on the weekend. Needs to be more consistent.