We're almost at the conclusion of the opening third of the 2023 VFL season, with the weekend's results giving us plenty to be impressed by.

The Bombers' defensive woes have gone from bad to worse, but their selection crisis could open the door for a debutant.

Southport's main men got the job done in Geelong on Sunday, while the Suns and Lions continued their undefeated starts to the season.

Here's a wrap-up of all the action from Round 7 of the VFL.

Carlton vs Brisbane (59 - 63)

The Lions notched up an ugly win at Ikon Park on Saturday as both clubs failed to capitalise late under the wet conditions.

For the second week in a row a high degree of attention from outside the boundary line was placed on potential No.1 draft pick Harley Reid, who pulled on the navy blue against Brisbane and managed to improve on his Round 6 outing.

The teenager amassed 21 disposals, nine tackles and eight marks in the narrow loss in a more defensive role under Luke Power, offering run and penetrating kicking from half-back.

The Lions' in-form midfield trio of Jarryd Lyons, Deven Robertson and Rhys Mathieson were too much for the Blues' own midfield brigade, which had welcomed demoted forward Zac Fisher for the contest.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 06: Harley Reid of Carlton
runs with the ball during the round seven VFL match between Carlton Blues and Brisbane Lions at Ikon Park on May 06, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Fisher recorded a team-high 32 possessions in the loss, while Matthew Cottrell and Matthew Owies were also among the Blues' best.

Gold Coast vs Casey (112 - 92)

The Suns retained their undefeated standing and place atop the VFL ladder whilst handing Casey their second loss in three weeks thanks to a five-goal haul from forward Alex Sexton.

Attacking pair Brodie McLaughlin and Chris Burgess continued their strong 2023 campaigns with three goals each in the win, adding further pressure for senior selection this week.

Midfielder Charlie Constable recorded his fifth 30-disposal game from his six appearances this year to extend his prolific run in the reserves while also recording a game-high 10 clearances against the Demons.

Ruckman Ned Moyle feasted on an under-sized Demons outfit to record 19 possessions, seven clearances and 42 hit-outs.

Senior Demons quartet Ben Brown, Joel Smith, Jake Melksham and Charlie Spargo shared eight goals between them, with the latter likely to be back in the mix for a chance at AFL level after returning through the VFL due to a recent head knock.

Frankston vs Sydney (60 - 57)

Sydney had the final six scores of the game but couldn't get themselves over the line in Frankston, with the Dolphins holding on by three points.

Late goals to Hugo Hall-Kahan and Corey Warner narrowed the margin to within a kick, with the Dolphins' rearguard standing tall to claim just their second win of the year as the Swans still search for their first.

Sydney pair Dylan Stephens and Nick Shipley were a dominant force through midfield, sharing a total of 24 clearances evenly, while Stephens flexed his defensive acumen with 10 tackles.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 01: Dylan Stephens of the Swans celebrates kicking a goal during the round seven AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Geelong Cats at Sydney Cricket Ground on May 01, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Trent Mynott and Will Fordham were standouts through the midfield for the Dolphins, while Kai Owens strengthened his case for a potential Mid-Season Draft opportunity, booting two goals from 23 disposals.

GWS vs Footscray (97 - 84)

Young Giant Cameron Fleeton recorded a career-high 31 possessions to help steer his side over the line against the Bulldogs, plucking 10 marks at half-back to offer plenty of run out of defence.

Fleeton was among GWS's best in the win, with versatile key-position talent Kieren Briggs impressing as the Giants' first-string ruckman tasked with taming Bulldog Jordon Sweet.

Briggs recorded a game-high 34 hit-outs against Sweet, while also adding six clearances, 19 disposals and one goal in his return to the VFL.

Jake Riccardi extended his season goals tally to 11 majors from his trio of appearances, while draftee Max Gruzewski also chimed in with three majors of his own.

AFL Rd 14 - Fremantle v GWS
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 29: Jake Riccardi of the Giants celebrates a goal with Stephen Coniglio during the round 14 AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Optus Stadium on August 29, 2020 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Buku Khamis led the way for Footscray with a quartet of goals from his dozen disposals, while Hayden Crozier and Jedd Busslinger both had an impact at the other end of the field.

Northern Bullants vs Box Hill (51 - 108)

The Hawks shook off a surprisingly strong start from the Bullants to claim a 57-point win at Preston City Oval, with a nine-goal second term seeing a quarter-time deficit lead to a 32-point buffer at the main break.

Sam Butler put his foot to the floor on his way to booting four goals - three of which came in the opening 12 minutes of the second stanza, while Jaylon Thorpe chipped in with three goals while showing off his high-flying efforts in attack.

New Hawks Cameron Mackenzie and Cooper Stephens were impressive in midfield, sharing 56 touches between them, while ruckman Max Ramsden and VFL-listed onballer Callum Porter were also among the Hawks' best.

Bullant Jean-Luc Velissaris was again an impressive figure in defeat, recording 29 touches for the Preston-based club

Geelong vs Southport (64 - 108)

The Sharks have enjoyed an undefeated three-week spell to now sit in fifth on the ladder thanks to a 4-3 win-loss record, with last year's grand finalists snapping Geelong's own two-game winning run.

Ruckman Brayden Crossley dominated around the ground on his way to 57 hit-outs, nine clearances, 11 tackles and 21 disposals in what was a mammoth effort against the Cats' tall timber.

Former Port Adelaide forward Boyd Woodcock booted three goals from his 25 disposals to be among the Sharks' best performers, getting the job done alongside partner-in-crime Jacob Dawson through the middle.

Dawson and Woodock are ranked first and third in the competition for total disposals so far in 2023, with the former recording his fifth game of 30 or more possessions on Sunday.

Embed from Getty Images

Southport tall Fraser Thurlow was the only player to best Woodcock's three majors, booting four goals as Jake McQueen notched up a trio of majors to help the Sharks snatch a win at Kardinia Park.

Second-year Cat James Willis enjoyed his best game in the hoops with three goals and 21 touches, while Brandan Parfitt put his name up for recall after recording 21 possessions and five clearances.

Williamstown vs Collingwood (68 - 44)

The Seagulls have moved into the top six thanks to a gritty four-goal win over the Magpies on Sunday, with club great Ben Jolley using his wealth of experience to rank among the game's best performers.

Jolley, who sits four games away from the 300-game milestone, recorded a game-high 29 possessions and laid seven tackles in the win over Collingwood.

Darby Henderson booted two goals from his 21 disposals as Marty Hore and Mitch Cox also had significant contributions to the win.

Young Magpies pair Finlay Macrae and Jakob Ryan continued their strong 2023 campaign to feature as Collingwood's leading ball winners with 26 and 23 disposals respectively.

Second-year Collingwood midfielder Arlo Draper collected 21 disposals and booted a goal in his first game of the season following a battle with concussion.

North Melbourne vs Sandringham (100 - 34)

The Kangaroos' senior side was unable to replicate the performance their reserves put on against Sandringham on Sunday, with North Melbourne's VFL outfit posting an 11-goal win over the Zebras at Arden Street.

Young Roo Tarryn Thomas returned to the field and amassed 19 possessions as he looks to make a return to the club's senior action.

Veteran defender Aaron Hall was again a key piece in the Roos' ball movement out of defence, recording 33 touches and seven tackles in the win.

Will Phillips responded to his being placed on the outer of Alastair Clarkson's plans with a 25-disposal, seven-tackle performance, while VFL-listed midfielder Jack Watkins was exceptional with 31 disposals and a goal.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 22: Will Phillips of the Kangaroos runs with the ball during the round 23 AFL match between Adelaide Crows and North Melbourne Kangaroos at Adelaide Oval on August 22, 2021 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Father-son rookie Cooper Harvey booted four goals in a breakout outing for the teenager, while Sam Lowson and Eddie Ford kicked three majors each.

Saint Marcus Windhager collected 27 disposals as he looks to push for a return to St Kilda's senior side, with Jack Billings, who is in the same boat, picking up 22 disposals himself.

Tom Highmore's strong VFL campaign continued despite the loss, with the South Australian still finding minutes hard to come by under Ross Lyon.

Essendon vs Werribee (53 - 71)

Werribee recorded a three-goal win over the Bombers to sit among the top eight after seven rounds, while Essendon has fallen to 15th as their winless runs extend to three games.

Former Melbourne forward Kye Declase and livewire forward Shaun Mannagh were prolific through midfield for the Tigers, while Dominic Brew added to a purple patch of form on his way to 27 touches, 10 tackles and seven clearances against the Bombers.

Sam Paea booted four goals in the victory as the remainder of Werribee's 10 majors were all handed out to single goalkickers.

Essendon lost young defender Zach Reid to a suspected hamstring injury in the opening half, with mature-aged recruit Rhett Montgomerie taking on the bulk of the defensive workload in his absence.

Montgomerie ended the evening as arguably Essendon's best performer, recording 24 disposals and 11 marks to place himself in the frame for a potential AFL debut.

Embed from Getty Images

The Bombers will be without Jordan Ridley (concussion) and Jayden Laverde (shoulder) for this week's matchup against Brisbane, while the extent of Reid's setback is not yet known, with Montgomerie among those to be considered for a call-up to take on the Lions.