In Round 18 we saw some finals aspirants choke away some golden opportunities, while a few veteran forwards showed the younger brigade how it's done. Here's whose stocks are up and whose are down.
Our footy experts cast their eye over the week's action to find out whose stocks are up -- whether it's a coaching masterstroke or a player having a blinder -- and whose are down. Every club features, so jump ahead to your team below (desktop only).
Stocks up: Is Ben Keays the biggest All-Australian smokey at the moment? The tough mid had 30 disposals, two goals and six tackles against the Eagles, in what was a spirited performance in a big loss. The 24-year-old has picked up at least 30 touches on nine occasions in 2021 and has not once dropped below 20 in his 17 games. We're loving his evolution!
Stocks down: We're not entirely sold on Adelaide's top heavy forward line. Matthew Nicks elected to go with four players over 194cm in Taylor Walker, Tom Lynch, Darcy Fogarty and Elliott Himmelberg. Lynch was strong in playing his usual link up role between the arcs, but there wasn't enough return otherwise, with only the Dockers and Hawks registering less marks inside forward 50 for the round. The Crows continuously bombed it long on Sunday night and the Eagles were picking it off with ease.
Stocks up: After a red-hot first half of the season, Hugh McCluggage's output really began to slow down. But on Friday evening, the 23-year-old was back to his best, picking up 30 disposals, over 400 metres gained and managed to kick a vital late goal to keep his side in touch.
Stocks down: Chris Fagan has every reason to be disappointed with Dan McStay. The Lions forward cost his side a goal when his pushing and shoving after teammate Deven Robertson took a mark 15m out directly in front of goal saw the ball reversed. McStay finished the game with the fewest touches of any player on the ground. Not good.
Stocks up: If you haven't yet bought stocks in Sam Walsh, don't worry, because somehow the value in this kid just grows by the week! A career-high 39 possessions, with 10 of those (and three centre clearances and a brilliant goal) coming in the last term alone, led Carlton past the Pies in the absence of skipper Patrick Cripps. We also liked Matthew Kennedy's 26-disposal, seven-tackle game, who likewise lifted in the coalface to ensure the Blues remain a finals chance.
Stocks down: They're a real top eight chance and deserve to be despite their inconsistency, but Carlton's intensity wasn't at the level it needs to be for four quarters on Sunday afternoon. They were outplayed by the waning and often boring-to-watch Magpies for two and a half quarters before finishing like a steam train. Seven Blues did not lay a single tackle at the MCG, not contributing to their tally of 42 which was the equal lowest across the entire round.
Stocks up: Collingwood star Jordan De Goey has put together a serious month of football, and 31 disposals, 12 marks and eight score involvements against the Blues epitomises that. Unfortunately he didn't have many teammates who showed the same urgency through the middle of the ground, but De Goey the midfielder is a player we'll keep our eye on in the closing rounds of the season.
Stocks down: Collingwood's last quarter drop off was a far cry from its fast-finishing final stanzas we've become accustomed to over the past few weeks. The Blues gave them a taste of their own medicine, and again the Pies' game plan comes under the microscope - they were thrashed in the middle. We're not sure what the answer is, and we're not sure Robert Harvey knows, either...
Stocks up: The Bombers spent more than one hour trailing the bottom team and needed answers as their grip on a top eight spot was slipping. Up stepped the in-form Jake Stringer who nearly doubled his disposal count in the fourth quarter alone, booting three match-winning goals from eight touches to will his side over the line in a tense final term.
Stocks down: He's been enjoying a solid season in the red and black, and has been dubbed one of the most accurate kicks for goal in the competition, but just five touches (two effective) and no scoreboard impact meant Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti just played in his lowest ranking and least effective match of the year.
Stocks up: In a massive occasion for the club -- rewarded with their first prime time match in five years -- they just simply did not deliver anything that resembles a side in the finals hunt. We wouldn't be buying into any Docker after that putrid performance.
Stocks down: The Dockers' credibility has taken a massive hit after Thursday night's humiliating loss to the Cats at Optus Stadium. This side really isn't good enough to play finals in 2021, and based on their most recent performance, they will continue to tumble down the ladder.
Stocks up: The Cats midfield utterly dominated Fremantle on Thursday night. Sam Menegola (30 disposals, one goal), Patrick Dangerfield (22 disposals, three goals), Joel Selwood (24 disposals, one goal), Quinton Narkle (26 disposals, one goal) and Cam Guthrie (35 disposals) ran rings around the Dockers from the opening bounce until the final siren.
Stocks down: What's to hate after that performance? The Cats are an experienced, seasoned side, and covered the absences of Jeremy Cameron and Gary Rohan up forward to perfection. If we're being picky, some improved accuracy would have resulted in an even bigger win.
Stocks up: He's only six games into it, but Jeremy Sharp put in the best performance of his young career against the premiership-fancied Western Bulldogs. The 19-year-old collected 30 possessions (90 percent efficiency), 10 marks and nine score involvements on Saturday night and used his dash and penetrating kick to full effect. Next Rising Star nomination? He certainly deserves it!
Stocks down: When you're coming up against one of the best sides in the competition and lose the inside 50 count by 11, you really need to nail your chances. The Suns did -- kind of -- in posting 24 scoring shots to the Dogs' 20, but failed to make them majors. Josh Corbett, Noah Anderson and Rory Atkins combined for 0.5, while usual sharpshooter Alex Sexton posted 3.4.
Stocks up: Full credit to the Giants who, after a bizarre beginning to the game, had to replace the isolating Toby Greene and Matt de Boer at the last minute, were the team that came out all guns blazing. Their six-goal blistering start may not have been enough in the end, but they showed us exactly why we just won't put a line through them until the conclusion of Round 23.
Stocks down: He'd been building one hell of a season, but to see Josh Kelly go down with an ankle injury is a major blow to the Giants' finals hopes. You also wonder what it means for his contract or trade discussions...
Stocks up: Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell has often been criticised for his 'worthless' or 'uninfluential' touches, but his 39 disposals and six clearances played a big part in the Hawks earning two premiership points against the top side. His work rate was also immense, outworking his opponents and winning the ball at both ends of the ground.
Stocks down: Youngster Emerson Jeka was largely unsighted against the Dees. The emerging forward managed just one kick and didn't take a single mark on Saturday night, and we're not sure that's enough to hold your spot in even the 17th-placed team.
Stocks up: The Dees' midfield is class, isn't it? Sure, they've got issues up forward, but Clayton Oliver was again exceptional; 35 disposals (16 contested), nine clearances and six tackles for the 23-year-old.
Stocks down: Do the Dees not bother with opposition analysis when it comes to playing the bottom sides? It seems like one of the only logical explanations after they drew with the Hawks (and after falling to Adelaide and Collingwood earlier in the season). So long as they keep beating the good sides, we guess?
Stocks up: Curtis Taylor showed North fans exactly why they should be excited by the 21-year-old who is now starting to cement his spot in the side. He nearly became the unlikely match-winner, too, booting two clutch goals in the final term of their tight loss to the Bombers. The first one -- a clever snap after making a spoil while outnumbered -- brought the margin back to nine points, while he showed nerves of steel minutes later when kicking truly from the tightest of angles in a masterful set shot. The Roos have a beauty on their hands!
Stocks down: Recruit Jaidyn Stephenson had a week to forget off the field, but also had a down week on it. After his 'COVID-19 denier' comments on social media were taken down following stinging backlash, he managed just two behinds against the Bombers.
Stocks up: Trent McKenzie was enormous against the Saints and had no right to out-mark his much taller opponent in Max King at Marvel Stadium, but it's something he did for four quarters. 'The Cannon' finished with 22 disposals, nine marks (three contested), nine intercepts and 541 metres gained in one of his best performances of the season.
Stocks down: Things aren't looking great for Todd Marshall after another down performance. Just one behind from 10 touches ... he might face the axe soon.
Stocks up: Happy 300th, Jack! What a performance from Tigers spearhead Jack Riewoldt in his 300th game. Riewoldt booted six goals and was involved in just about everything forward of centre as Richmond overcame Brisbane to keep their season alive.
Stocks down: Just when Richmond finally rediscovered some form, they are hit with a fresh batch of injuries. Dustin Martin missed the final quarter with a kidney injury, after a significant collision with Lions hardnut Mitch Robinson, and is now sidelined for the remainder of the year. Kamdyn McIntosh was subbed out early with a hamstring injury, while David Astbury also finished the game on the bench, nursing his ankle.
Stocks up: It's amazing how much better the Saints look with Rowan Marshall in the team. He's the perfect utility; great in the ruck, potent up forward, and gathers enough of the ball. He kicked 2.2 from 19 touches and had 16 hit outs, gaving Paddy Ryder a much-needed chop out.
Stocks down: What's that famous saying? "It's the hope that kills you." Does that resonate with St Kilda fans? They trailed by 20 points late in the third term, briefly took the lead in the fourth, before succumbing to the Power by 13.
Stocks up: The Swans needed a spark in a Sydney derby they trailed by 35 points, and the Lance Franklin-Tom Papley combination delivered in spades. Buddy bagged his 400th major in Bloods colours while livewire Papley wowed fans with his crafty goal sense and forward 50 trickery - the pair combining for eight majors to keep the pressure on fourth spot.
Stocks down: Good sides won't let you come back from a six-goal hole, and fortunately for the Swans, the Giants were without their best player in Toby Greene, and lost Josh Kelly halfway through the match. They need to sort out that slow start, which saw GWS kick seven unanswered majors after Sydney kicked the first goal of the match.
Stocks up: Take a bow, Jamie Cripps. Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks? The 29-year-old booted just his second bag of five goal and his first since 2015 against the Crows, in a match-winning performance. Add to that his 25 disposals, and the three votes should be coming his way on Brownlow night.
Stocks down: You can't help but feel for Luke Shuey, who again injured his troublesome calf. The 'old man's injury', as it's known, just keep rearing its head, and the 31-year-old is again facing the prospect of further time on the sidelines.
Stocks up: He (bizarrely) copped some criticism last week in just his first game, but Jamarra Ugle-Hagan's stock is rising after a three-goal performance against the Suns. He has a beautiful kicking action and rises to meet the ball much like teammate Aaron Naughton. They're spoiled for key forwards down at the Dogs...
Stocks down: Did Josh Dunkley smash a mirror earlier this year? His luck has been awful ... first the dislocated shoulder kept him out for three months, and now he's going to need to quarantine for 14 days (meaning he's out of Round 19) after visiting a 'Tier 1' site in Melbourne.