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The five things we learned from Round 13


We’re almost 13 weeks through the AFL season as another six teams had the weekend off with the bye.

Now five games through the round with a huge sixth one awaiting us on Queen’s Birthday, here’s what we’ve learned from the weekend so far.

Port Adelaide won’t feature in September

While they’ve had two consecutive years playing home Qualifying Finals, Port Adelaide won’t feature in September this time around.

To make the eight, the Power would need to win at least seven and likely eight of their last 10 games with their current record of 5-7, and that doesn’t look likely with the likes of Sydney, Fremantle (away), Melbourne (away), Geelong, Collingwood (away) and Richmond on the run home.

It’s a disappointing decline for Ken Hinkley’s men, who would’ve backed themselves to go close again in 2022 with much of their list remaining intact from their pushes in 2020 and 2021.

With a bottom 10 finish all but locked in, will this be the result that leads to the club looking for a fresh start, or will it give them the added drive to reload again?

Only time will tell, but you get the feeling this group’s time as genuine contenders is up.

Dylan Shiel still has good footy left in him

Essendon midfielder Dylan Shiel has been much-maligned in 2022, with his performances leading to the highly paid former Giant even being left out of the Bombers’ best 22 on occasion.

While he hasn’t reached his lofty standards so far this year, we got a glimpse of what the 29-year-old can still offer at the top level against Carlton on Friday.

With Darcy Parish succumbing to a corked calf, Shiel stepped up to fill the void with a goal, 27 disposals, 10 tackles and eight clearances in the loss, putting together one of his best games in red and black.

Although his big game couldn’t earn his side a much-needed win, Essendon fans will hope this is the spark that leads to a consistent run of form for Shiel.

With multiple years left to run on his big-money contract, these are the performances he needs to show to justify the price tag put on him by the club.

Hawthorn is a better side than their record suggests

The Hawks hold a record of 4-9 following their loss to Fremantle on Sunday, but you get the feeling the club would be far happier with their season thus far compared to what their record suggests.

While they’ve only won one of their last eight games, the way they’ve played in almost all of those contests would please Sam Mitchell.

In that run, they narrowly went down to the Demons, Magpies and now Dockers, while staying with the Tigers and Bombers for most of their battles.

With a bit more experience into some of the side’s younger legs, the Hawks will hope that they soon get on the winning side of these close encounters.

There’s no doubt they’d want to be winning but come the end of the year, a top-six pick might be what’s needed to help add another piece to the rebuild.

It’s not a bad place to be if you’re a Hawks fan.

Harry Himmelberg’s move to defence has worked wonders

GWS tall Harry Himmelberg looks a star in defence since shifting down back in Round 10.

While he was more than serviceable as a forward in previous years and through nine rounds in 2022 (with 17 goals from those games), he’s making more of an impact in his new role.

Having impressed against the Eagles and Lions in the new role, Sunday’s performance against the Kangaroos was a breakout effort for the 26-year-old in his new role as he collected 37 disposals, 16 marks and 10 rebound 50s off half-back, while even drifting forward for a goal in the last term

Alongside the ever-improving Sam Taylor and soon-to-return Phil Davis, Himmelberg could help form one of the AFL’s most imposing tall defences.

Even with Davis lined up for a return, you’d imagine Mark McVeigh wouldn’t be thinking about flipping Himmelberg back up front.

It’s a big week for the Western Bulldogs

While they had the bye, it wasn’t the relaxed weekend that Bulldogs fans, players and officials would’ve been hoping for.

Obviously, young Bulldog Bailey Smith stole the headlines on Saturday as images surfaced of him online with a bag of white powder, leading to an admission from the 21-year-old where he acknowledged his mistakes.

With that matter lingering over the club, the one thing they’ll want to get out and do is respond on the field, and they get a chance to do that next Saturday against the Giants in Sydney.

On paper, that’s a game they’d expect to win, but it’ll be no easy task against a GWS side that still has plenty of talent.

They’ll have to be pretty flawless from here to make another finals appearance, let’s see if this weekend’s drama has any ongoing effects on Luke Beveridge’s side.

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