With only six games being played over the first bye week, our usual 20 Thoughts had to take a bit of a cutback, but we're still back discussing the biggest talking points the league has to offer.

Jack Ginnivan, Cody Weightman and Bailey Smith are back in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, while big Max Gawn continues his run of dominance. Troubles on both the lower and upper ends of the ladder, while Fremantle and the Swans begin to generate more hype than ever before.

1. Jack Ginnivan as public enemy number one. First, it was the overconfidence and showmanship, then the bleached hair, and now it's theatrics and "playing for free kicks". For a young man, Ginnivan clearly doesn’t mind being the centre of attention, even if most of the time he seems to be the villain. It does make for some interesting footy, though. No such thing as bad publicity, right?

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: Jack Ginnivan of the Magpies celebrates a goal during the 2022 AFL Round 06 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 25, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

2. Cody Weightman’s theatrics. Diving and playing for free kicks really needs to go. He didn’t even try to make it subtle, and it’s not something people want to see in the game. Touched on it before with Ginnivan, but it seems like more and more players are becoming pretty comfortable to act for free kicks, even if they cop some stick for it.

3. Cody gets in twice, and again not for a good reason. The Sergio Ramos-esque slide tackle on Sam De Koning was pretty dangerous, and David King’s comments on the issue are pretty warranted. “That’s a leg breaker, that’s an ACL snapped,” he said. And he’s right. Suspension should’ve probably been on the cards for Weightman. In a sport already plagued with serious injuries, allowing antics like this to go unnoticed isn’t going to make anything safer.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 04: Cody Weightman of the Bulldogs celebrates kicking a goal during the round 16 AFL match between Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne Kangaroos at Marvel Stadium on July 04, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

4. Max Gawn is quite literally head and shoulders above the competition. Melbourne have hit a bit of an unlikely slump in form of late, but take absolutely nothing away from the big man. 28 disposals, 23 contested possessions, nine marks, three goals, 30 hit outs, and kicking snaps on the run, all while being a 208cm ruckman. Absolutely unreal.

5. Speaking of Melbourne, what’s going on? Individually, player statistics are still incredible. Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca are still getting 30+ disposal games like it’s nothing, Gawn is tearing the league to shreds, and Bayley Fritsch still looks like scoring three goals a game. But two losses in a row? Not to mention letting two decently sized leads slip. There were questions over a potentially undefeated season a few weeks ago. Nothing to really be concerned about here, but just interesting to see how quickly things can change.

6. At the other end of the ladder, North are in all sorts. It’s getting ridiculous now. Having two goalless quarters in a single game of footy shouldn’t go unnoticed, and it hasn’t. They don’t look like competing, and the only win they’ve recorded this year is a dodgy win over one-third of West Coast. They’ve won four individual quarters over their last seven games. There are a few positives, such as the near guarantee that Horne-Francis will become a superstar, and the young core featuring players like Jy Simpkin have the potential to lead the team in the future. But looking at the present, they are so far off it isn’t funny.

7. Freo are the real deal. Make no mistake, the Dockers are here to win a premiership. The young players have really stepped up of late, Banfield and Frederick look deadly in front of goal, Serong is working wonders in the midfield, not to mention Andrew Brayshaw has his hand up for Brownlow contention. Losses to Gold Coast and Collingwood are disappointing, but statement wins against Geelong, Brisbane and Melbourne speak volumes. Add a fully fit Nat Fyfe back into the mix, you feel something special could be on the cards. Believe the hype.

8. The Swans aren’t too far behind, either. A win against Melbourne at the 'G isn’t something to be taken lightly. A Buddy-less Sydney outfit getting up by 12 points in a game where the three leading ball winners were Demons speaks volumes. They looked a little rusty early on in the season, but wins against Richmond, GWS and now Melbourne makes you wonder just how far this team has the potential to go.

9. Touching on Fyfe, how long until he gets back to his best? A run for Peel Thunder marked the superstar's return to the game, managing 24 touches, five marks and four tackles. A pretty impressive performance, but well below the standards of Fyfe’s best. Getting him fully fit could be the game changer that helps the Dockers break away from the competition.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 04: Nat Fyfe of the Thunder signals to team mates during the round seven WAFL match between the Subiaco Lions and Peel Thunder at Leederville Oval on June 04, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

10. So much for the poster boy. Bailey Smith’s headbutt on Zach Tuohy clearly showed the supposed ‘nice guy’ of the AFL has a bit of a temper. It didn’t do a great deal of damage to Tuohy, but still got the Doggies midfielder suspended for two games. A bit of push-and-shove is a given, but the headbutt might be a bit too far. For someone respected as highly as Baz, you’d like to see him compose himself a bit better.

11. Mitch Lewis is a dark horse for the Coleman. If you're not convinced, watch him play. He just looks like scoring goals. As the Hawk’s main source, Lewis currently sits 10th on the ladder for goals scored, but sits fourth for average goals per game. He is yet to play a game this season without kicking a goal. He’s kicked four goals in a game twice already this year, with a bag of five against Port in Round 2. Missing Rounds 6-8 didn’t do him any favours, but it's only going to take one or two big hauls to send him to the top.

Mitchell Lewis during the AFL match between Hawthorn and St Kilda in Round 4, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

12. Young Suns are certified crowd-pleasers. The trio of Joel Jeffery, Izak Rankine and Ben Ainsworth simply aim to please. They’re quick, agile, skilful and love a bit of showboating, but that’s what we want to see. Exiting, fun footy. Jeffery stole the show a few weeks back, this week Rankine stepped up against the Roos. With the three young guns combining so effortlessly, it's no wonder the Suns have finally stepped up to the challenge and are putting up a serious fight.

13. Tex’s turnaround. Tex Waker’s career looked all but over a few years ago, but the star seems to be back to his best again. The 32-year-old just came off a best on ground performance, kicking three goals, 22 disposals, eight marks and 10 score involvement. Not to mention the athleticism for that hanger in the dying seconds. He’s clearly still got it in him and has been showing it basically all season despite the Crow’s struggles. Tex’s time isn’t up just yet.

14. The Bont needs to step up. The Dogs are in a bit of a slump at the moment. They’re not paying bad, but they certainly aren't playing any good either. A loss against fourth-placed Geelong isn’t out of the ordinary, but it doesn’t seem like they are really going anywhere as a team. Again, Bontempelli falls into the same category, not bad, but nothing like what we’re used to. If he can lift himself back to his best and put the team on his back like last year, it might not be too late for people to start taking the Doggies seriously again.

15. NBA X AFL made its return. Portland Trailblazer’s star Damian Lillard was spotted at Marvel Stadium watching the Cats take on the Dogs. We can’t help but wonder what he was thinking as Jeremy Cameron celebrated kicking 500.