Round 9 is here. This weekend sees many huge blockbuster clashes across the fixture. We will see nine games from Thursday to Sunday where 18 teams will battle it out, with new stories bound to be written.

Thursday night will see Carlton vs Melbourne, a blockbuster clash at the MCG that's likely to draw a huge crowd. If Carlton win, they could kick the Dees out of the top four.

Another must-watch game this weekend is on Friday night between Geelong and Port Adelaide at GMHBA Stadium. Both these clubs have had great starts to the season so this match is anticipated to be a close and fierce game.

Below we have focused on a player who is going in under the radar, a player who needs to step up, a player who's sure to gain plenty of attention, a big matchup, and a player who could potentially look at a new role and a player who is on a comeback in Round 8.

Under the radar: Hayden Young

Hayden Young has had a great start to the season and is flying under the radar, as he is part of a talented midfield.

Hayden Young during the 2022 AFL Round 19 match between Richmond and Fremantle (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

The 23-year-old has made a permanent move this year into the midfield after starting his career as a half-back.

The midfielder has been flying under the radar for this season given he works alongside the likes of Andrew Brayshaw, Nat Fyfe and Caleb Serong, and his performances are not being spoken about.

In the Dockers' win against the Tigers on the weekend, the youngster picked up 30 disposals and kicked two goals, which earned him 10 coaches votes and put the rest of the competition on notice.

This weekend, Fremantle host Sydney on Friday night, where Young may fly under the radar as the Swans will already have their hands filled with the Dockers' other midfielders, but if they aren't mindful of Young he will be a huge danger with his ability to win contested footy and be damaging on the scoreboard.

Needs to step up: Tom Papley

Tom Papley needs to step up this weekend when the Swans travel west to take on Fremantle. Papley has had a slow start to the season and is far from his best, only kicking 12 goals this season.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 04: Tom Papley of the Swans celebrates a goal during the 2022 AFL Round 12 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Sydney Swans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 04, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The star small forward is a big-time player but in the Swans blockbuster clashes this year, Papley has been very quiet.

There is a need for him to step up and while the Swans have not been struggling to convert this year, having a figure like Papley in his best form and helping lead the Swans forward line will be vital come late in the season and September this year.

This weekend is a huge opportunity for the 27-year-old to get back to his best form, kicking a few goals and seeing 'Paps' come alive with his goal-time celebration that fans go to games to see.

All eyes are on... Toby Greene

All eyes will be on Toby Greene this weekend and if he can get back to his best. The forward has been struggling in recent weeks with form, has been suspended and tallied up a number of fines for infringements, and this weekend Greene will be on watch to see how he performs.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JULY 23: Toby Greene of the Giants celebrates kicking a goal during the round 19 AFL match between Greater Western Sydney Giants and Gold Coast Suns at Manuka Oval, on July 23, 2023, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

He has only kicked nine goals this season and was held goalless by Carlton and the Swans. This week when the Giants take on Essendon, all eyes will be on the All-Australian captain if he can lift and get back to his best form.

The big matchup: Charlie Curnow/Steven May

The biggest matchup for Round 9 will be on Thursday night between Charlie Curnow and Steven May.

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Both these players are one of the best in the competition for their respective positions, therefore this matchup is one to watch. Previous encounters before these two have been fierce, both getting the upper hand on each other at times.

Come Thursday night Curnow and May will be eager to win this matchup as both are big-time players and can play a role in the momentum of the game.

If Curnow can snag a few goals early the key forward will be hard to stop, but if May can get on top early and stop Curnow from scoring, it could shut Curnow out of the whole game.

This is a must-watch matchup for Thursday night footy.

A new role? Jeremy Howe

Jeremy Howe may have a new role this weekend, being pushed forward to an old position. Collingwood is set to be without a number of their key players this week, many of who are from their forward line due to injury and suspension.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 13: Jeremy Howe of the Magpies competes for the ball over Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats during the round eight AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Geelong Cats at Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 13, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Given Howe's background as a forward, the 33-year-old could be Craig McRae's choice to step in and cover for the absences of Brody Mihocek, Lachie Schultz and Beau McCreery.

With his leaping ability and proficiency to play in the forward line, Howe could play a forward role this weekend when Collingwood takes on West Coast at Marvel Stadium.

On the comeback: Jack Martin 

Jack Martin will return this Thursday night and play his first game of the season after having a disrupted pre-season due to knee and hamstring injuries.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08: Jack Martin of the Blues celebrates a goal during the 2023 AFL First Elimination Final match between the Carlton Blues and the Sydney Swans at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 08, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Martin was an influential player for the Blues at the latter end of the 2023 season, so having him back in the side this week when they take on a strong opposition of the Dees is a huge in for Carlton.

The 29-year-old will start in the half-forward position this Thursday night.