Round 12 is in the books with teams beginning to take well-earned rests with the bye.

While four sides sat out, we still had seven games of footy which told us plenty about the teams involved.

Here’s what we learned from the weekend.

_Club record has Port Adelaide a genuine premiership contender

After their thumping win over Hawthorn on Saturday, Port Adelaide have nine straight wins to their name, their longest winning streak in club history.

While some including Kane Cornes don’t believe the Power are a genuine premiership hopeful, their form says otherwise.

With their budding young midfield improving by the week and some genuine firepower up forward with Jeremy Finlayson in form and Todd Marshall back in the line-up, there’s no doubt Port’s best can compete with anyone this season.

Given how most of the other top-eight teams continue to fall over themselves, the Power are running away with a top-three spot and right now would back themselves to finish in an all-important top-two spot.

With their form trending upwards as the season progresses, now is the time we need to genuinely consider this side as one that could win it all on the last Saturday of September.

Beat the Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium next Friday and we’ll believe it even more.

Nick Daicos is surely leading the Brownlow at the midway point of the season

Collingwood’s win over West Coast in Perth came at a cost but young superstar Nick Daicos again showed that he’s one of the competition’s best players in just his second season.

With three impressive goals to go with his 30 disposals, Daicos surely locked in another three Brownlow votes and has shortened as the bookies’ favourite to win the medal.

There’s every chance Daicos already has six best afields, while he’s also a great chance to poll in another three games.

That could put the young gun in the vicinity of 20 votes after 12 rounds, and if he keeps up this pace he could run away with the award.

Some have knocked Daicos for stat-padding with kick-outs, but in the last two weeks, only four of his touches have come from that source as he spends more time on-ball.

With Jordan De Goey now out with suspension, Collingwood may even rely on Daicos to go to another level as a forward of centre midfielder.

If he fills that role well, there’s every chance he trends even further upward… a scary thought for opposition clubs.

It’s a big week for Melbourne

While Melbourne took the four points on Friday against Carlton with their 61-44 win, that performance wasn’t one they’ll hang their hats on.

In a dour affair with both sides really failing to impress, it’s another week where we don’t truly know where Melbourne are at.

While they sit third and are well positioned from a ladder perspective, Demon fans will know all too well how this side has stacked up against the best over the last 12 months.

That’s what makes this week so big for the club, with a blockbuster King’s Birthday clash against Collingwood awaiting them.

If they can beat the Pies, immediately we’ll all consider the Dees genuine premiership contenders.

But if they fall short against one of the competition’s best again, their reality as a stock average top-eight team will be confirmed.

With Jordan De Goey out for the Pies and Clayton Oliver a chance to return for the Dees, they won’t get a better chance this year to really make a statement.

All eyes will be on the MCG next Monday.

The Suns need to make the most of their Darwin connection

Gold Coast have seemingly turned their season around in the last fortnight with crucial wins against finals hopefuls the Dogs and Crows.

It’s no shock that this upwards spike has come with their last two games coming at Darwin’s TIO Stadium as playing footy there has truly become a competitive advantage for Stuart Dew’s side.

After Saturday night’s 25-point win over Adelaide, the Suns have now won four straight in the Northern Territory and four from six all-time.

While they only play two games at the venue in 2023, Gold Coast should push to host more games in Darwin going forward as opposition sides – particularly from Victoria or South Australia – don’t seem to adapt to the conditions as well.

Now 6-6 on the season, perhaps we’ll look back on their Darwin stint as the springboard to what could be the most successful season in club history.

GWS look to have found their ruckman of the future

Since Shane Mumford’s retirement, GWS haven’t had a consistent number-one ruckman.

We’ve seen Braydon Preuss and Matt Flynn hold the mantle, but 23-year-old Kieren Briggs has well and truly stolen that position as of late.

While he had played just two games this season and 11 carer games ahead of Sunday’s clash against Richmond, Briggs already looks like one of the strongest rucks in the competition.

In fact, Briggs entered the clash as the highest-ranked player in the competition according to Champion Data, with his average rating of 19.75 higher than Marcus Bontempelli (18.11) and Clayton Oliver (18.01) who are also on the podium.

Given Briggs’ season so far was already so highly rated, he will surely improve on that as he had the best game of his career so far in the tight loss to the Tigers, locking horns with Toby Nankervis throughout as he had 11 disposals, six clearances, nine tackles, 30 hitouts and two goals.

It’s a position the Giants have long struggled with, but they’ll be feeling pretty good that Briggs is their man going forward.