Gold Coast coach Damien Hardwick's decision to swing the axe worked as a host of Suns players responded to their demotion.

A young North Melbourne star looks ready to return after overcoming injury while the Giants will be pleased that some of their regulars made it through their return game.

Charlie McCartin (brother of Tom and Paddy) made his VFL debut as a Carlton ruckman dominated after being overlooked.

BYES: Footscray Bulldogs, Box Hill Hawks, Sandringham Zebras, Richmond, Collingwood

See who performed well in Round 12 of the VFL.

Gold Coast (111) def. Essendon (93)

Unlike their AFL counterparts, the Suns reserves had a strong win over the weekend led by a five-goal haul from youngster Ethan Read.

Read was instrumental in the victory, alongside Brayden Fiorini (33 touches, eight clearances, eight marks and a goal) and Ned Moyle (37 hitouts, eight clearances, 16 possessions and a goal).

Key forward Jed Walter had an almost-day, slotting 2.4 while Nick Holman responded to the senior axing with 30 disposals and seven tackles.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 21: (L-R) Will Graham, Ethan Read, Jed Walter and Jake Rogers of the Suns pose for a photograph following the 2023 AFL Draft at Marvel Stadium on November 21, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

2025 draft prospect and younger brother of Bodhi Uwland, Zeke, was also impressive.

Despite the loss, the Bombers can hold their heads high.

Tex Wanganeen was arguably the club's best while young ruckman Nick Bryan showed he's a cut above the grade.

Former Crow Jackson Hately slotted four goals while Jared Eckersley nearly matched him, kicking 3.3 for the afternoon.

Ben Hobbs and Elijah Tsatas found plenty of the ball as did Will Setterfield and Dylan Shiel.

Brisbane (116) def. Frankston Dolphins (66)

The Lions had contributors all over the ground and a four-goal performance from Brandon Ryan was one of the highlights of the day.

Deven Robertson did his recall chances no harm after a 33-disposal, 10-clearance outing while James Tunstill was equally as good through the midfield.

Ruckman Henry Smith gave Brisbane their first look with 36 hit-outs as Darragh Joyce was pivotal down back.

As for the Dolphins, former Saint and Blue Jack Newnes had plenty of chances in front of goal, kicking 2.3 from 16 touches while Blake O'Leary was arguably the club's best.

Thomas Murphy had his own football while Lachie Riley had a team-high four clearances.

GWS (90) def. Sydney (76)

The Giants got their revenge in the twos after impressing efforts from young forwards Aaron Cadman and Darcy Jones.

The pair combined for 4.8 and were key parts of the victory while former Swan Marc Sheather (25 touches and seven clearances) was excellent against his old club.

Isaac Cumming and Adam Kennedy made successful returns to football as they will start to build up toward an AFL recall while James Leake made his GWS debut.

Corey Warner was Sydney's best player, slotting three goals from 25 touches and nine clearances.

Matt Roberts was equally impressive while utility Robbie Fox was strong on the day.

Joel Hamling and Jacob Konstanty kept the scoreboard ticking over for the Swans while all eyes were on Charlie McCartin (brother of Tom and Paddy), who gathered 14 disposals and five marks in his VFL debut.

Sydney pair Tom McCartin and Paddy McCartin with brother Charlie (Image via Instagram, Tom McCartin)

Carlton (71) def. by Southport Sharks (83)

Southport's Boyd Woodcock was back to his best, amassing 26 touches and nine marks, leading the club to a 12-point victory.

Zac Foot had an almost-day, kicking inaccurately (2.4) in front of the goal from his 20 possessions while Jay Lockhart was slightly (3.3) better.

Jacob Dawson was the highest possession winner on the ground with 32 and a team-high eight clearances.

Carlton ruckman Marc Pittonet has responded strongly despite being overlooked for a senior recall.

Pittonet gathered 24 touches, nine clearances, 21 hitouts and kicked a goal.

Defenders Caleb Marchbank and Lewis Young continue to be healthy depth options if need be.

Young forward Harry Lemmey could've helped willed his side over the line if he'd kicked straighter (1.4).

Werribee Tigers (83) def. Williamstown Seagulls (63)

Jack Riding's two-goal, 26-disposal performance was one for the ages, leading the Tigers to a 20-point win over the Seagulls.

Riding's outing was joined by Jesse Clark (26 touches and 14 marks) and Dom Brew (27 possessions and 11 clearances).

Ex-Pie Jay Rantall made his way back to the reserves grade, collecting 13 disposals while ruckman Sam Conway gave Werribee first look in the midfield.

However, Conway's opponent Tom Downie continued his impressive stretch of form, recording 53 hitouts to go with his nine tackles and 13 touches in the defeat.

Blake Coleman kept the scoreboard ticking over with three majors while former Blue Cameron Polson's performance rivalled Riding for best on the ground.

Coburg Lions (72) def. Northern Bullants (59)

Coburg trio Josh D'Intinosante, Deacon Kalpakis and Jesse Corgiliano were a super coach's dream on Sunday.

They combined for 37 marks, 74 disposals and two goals in the close victory.

Lachlan Walker was equally as impressive while midfielder Flynn Gentile keeps reminding recruiters of what they missed out on.

The Bullants were valiant in defeat but ultimately didn't have the class to run over the Lions.

John Jorgensen will be disappointed with his goalkicking, registering 1.5 in the 13-point loss.

Jean-Luc Velissaris was dominant, amassing 38 possessions and 13 clearances.

Casey Demons (77) def. by North Melbourne (83)

Charlie Lazzaro continues to knock on the door at the selection table and Sunday was no different, gathering 31 disposals and eight clearances.

Jaidyn Stephenson responded to his axing, collecting 25 touches and 14 marks while VFL-listed player Robert Hansen Jr kicked four goals.

Colby McKercher of the North Melbourne Kangaroos during the 2024 AFL season (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)

Zane Duursma was quieter this week, registering 14 possessions and five marks while Colby McKercher is almost certainly in line for a recall after a 31-possession performance.

Griffin Logue also got through the game as he makes a comeback from an ACL injury.

Untried key forward Matthew Jefferson slotted four goals as Simon Goodwin ponders his front-half mix.

Jack Billings (22 disposals) and Bailey Laurie (19 touches, six clearances and a goal) were serviceable while Shane McAdam was quiet.

Port Melbourne Borough (88) def. Geelong (86)

Port Melbourne captain Harvey Hooper was instrumental in the two-point win, kicking two goals from 19 touches and five clearances.

He was joined by James Hird's son, Tom, who was arguably the Borough's best with 22 possessions and a major.

Archi Manton has an almost-day while Tom Highmore was impressive in defence.

Following a disappointing outing on Friday against Carlton, Chris Scott could look to make some moves.

Shannon Neale is almost a lock for a recall, kicking 3.3 and in line to replace the injured Tom Hawkins.

Ruckman Toby Conway can be brought in as the failed attempt to use Sam De Koning didn't work.

Mitch Knevitt (24 touches, 10 tackles and eight clearances) was tough around the contest while Rhys Stanley managed to get up for the VFL clash despite initially being listed as injured.

Jed Bews, Brandan Parfitt and Shaun Mannagh all played their role and are viable options for the seniors.