MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Dion Prestia of the Tigers celebrates kicking a goal with team mates during the 2017 AFL Grand Final match between the Adelaide Crows and the Richmond Tigers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 30, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/AFL Media/Getty Images)

The last bye round only left us with six games for the week, but there's still plenty of new, burning topics to discuss both on and off the field.

A new villain puts his hand up, the Dees continue to suffer over the break, while the Tomahawk cements himself as one of the legends of the game. Injuries, holiday fiascos, surprise upsets and MVP candidates are all amongst the biggest talking points for the 14th round of the 2022 season.

1. I’m not sure it needs to be said, but Toby Greene is the most valuable player in the league. Absolutely carried his side this week against the Dogs. Seven goals, 21 disposals at 86% efficiency and six marks all in a 20-point loss. Never dropped his head once and looked to be the most dangerous player on the field. He’s 28, still plenty of good years left in him. If the Giants are ever going to challenge for a premiership, you better believe that man will be at the helm.

2. Speaking of superstars, Dion Presita isn’t discussed enough in the conversation. What a player. 33 disposals, 19 contested possession, and a game-high 13 clearances. He was almost everywhere against the Blues, and was able to play most of the game without any soreness for the first time in a while. A fully fit and fully confident Prestia may be exactly what the Tigers need to reignite their premiership campaign in the near future.

3. The De Goey incident has left a lot of people on different sides of the argument. I’m not sure why he was allowed to go to Bali in the first place, but since he was there, shouldn't we just let him enjoy his holiday unprovoked? Before any details of his trip were revealed, the media were quick to attack the infamous forward, and a lot of fans came for his throat straight away. It's no wonder he’s calling for other players to speak up about the way the media spins narratives. The video that surfaced didn’t do the man any favours, but it's interesting to see what the media’s reaction would be if it was anyone else.

Jordan De Goey during the 2022 AFL Round 1 match between St Kilda and Collingwood (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

4. If there was any doubt before, Hawkins solidified himself as one of the best forwards of our generation. 700 is a massive deal, and just shows how consistent he’s been throughout most of his career. In the top three for the Coleman almost every year, always amongst the conversation as one of the best forwards in the league without question. At 33, it’s unlikely he’ll get close to 1000, but is it that far out of the question to put him up there with some of the all-timers?

5. As Hawkins did his thing, it almost went under the radar that the Eagles actually looked like a decent team. For the first time this season, there was a bit of fight in the players, they looked dangerous in front of goal and kept up with Geelong for most of the game. Although they ended up falling short by 18, they definitely had the Cats worried at some point. Good to see them start to believe in themselves again.

6. Speaking of putting up a fight, Essendon went above and beyond expectations against the Saints. In what was probably a footy tipper’s nightmare, the Dons ran rampant against the Saint in a result that I don’t think anyone saw coming. Another four goals for two-meter Peter, Stringer looking lively, and that Draper mark led to one of the upsets of the season. Four points for the Bombers was surprising enough, but a 35-point win against a top-eight side for a team in 16th? Insane.

7. How detrimental is the loss to the Dons going to be to the Saints at the end of the season? With such a tough run home, losing games to teams in 16th place isn’t ideal, and it may come back to bite them towards the latter end of the campaign. The Saints still have to play Sydney away, as well as Carlton, Freo and the Dogs all in a row. It should’ve been a win against Essendon realistically, so the pressure is well and truly on for the Sainters to hold their top-eight spot.

Essendon Bombers Media Opportunity & Training Session
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: Sam Draper of the Bombers in action during an Essendon Bombers AFL media opportunity at The Hangar on January 21, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

8. Shai Bolton put his hand up to be added to the villains list. The taunt was actually quite funny, but a lot of people went straight for his throat and not many approved. 'Dimma' was one of those people, and it’s interesting to think about the words that would have been shared between the two after the game. The confidence is great and it would get in the heads of the Carlton players a little, so personally, I’m all for it. But how’s it going to affect young Shai now that he’s that latest villain alongside the likes of Ginnivan and Weightman?

9. With big Max out, the Demons might be in a lot of trouble. No one can replace him and the influence he has on the game, and now that big Majak has also gone down with an injury, there’s no experienced backup besides Jackson. Already having lost three consecutive games, and coming up against Brisbane this week, could it become four? Steven May is on his way back which will be a boost for sure, but the loss of Gawn might prove too much for the already out-of-form champions.

AFL Rd 8 - Melbourne v Brisbane
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 26: Max Gawn of the Demons looks dejected after losing the round 8 AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and the Brisbane Lions at Metricon Stadium on July 26, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

10. Touching on injured ruckmen, Tim English has just been ruled out for the Doggies next week. The big man has had such a massive impact on the way the Dogs play of late, being a target for marks all around the ground, gathering decent possession numbers, having high hit-out win percentage and is an active goal threat. For a team that really has a lot to prove coming towards the latter end of the season, having a player of English’s quality on the sidelines isn’t really what the Dogs want to see.