Melbourne star Kate Hore celebrates a goal. Picture: AFL Photos

ROUND two showcased some huge individual performances, including six goals from Jamie Stanton in her milestone 50th game, a new clearance record from teammate Charlie Rowbottom and a stunning goal from the centre circle from Danielle Ponter.

Each Monday of the AFLW season, Gemma Bastiani will touch on a key talking point from each game, just in case you missed it.

Caitlin Gould, key forward

For an attacking line that has lost big goalkickers in Erin Phillips and Ashleigh Saint in back-to-back seasons, Jess Allan's return to Adelaide has allowed coach Matthew Clarke to send ruck Caitlin Gould inside 50 almost permanently to great effect. Against Richmond on Friday evening Gould was dominant in the air, taking four marks inside 50 and kicking three goals. Given the strength of the Crows' midfield, having a focal point like Gould inside 50 makes the side more dangerous in attack than it has in recent seasons, already averaging 49.5 points per game this season, its highest since 2019.


The Suns have some young guns

It is no surprise that Charlie Rowbottom has continued to dominate in the midfield for Gold Coast this year, registering 33 disposals, 10 tackles and a record 16 clearances in her side's demolition of West Coast on Saturday. But the impact of Claudia Whitfort alongside her should not be ignored. Whitfort, who had 33 disposals, seven inside 50s and 531m gained of her own is stunning to watch in her ability to break away from stoppages and send the ball into attack. At just 20 and 24, respectively, the pair's chemistry is something Suns fans will get to enjoy for a long time to come.


Dakota loves the limelight

With dangerous forwards Jesse Wardlaw, Greta Bodey and Zimmie Farquharson all absent for Brisbane this season, someone needed to take charge inside 50 and Dakota Davidson has risen to the challenge. Her six contested marks – one away from the AFLW record – and four goals against Port Adelaide on Saturday set the Lions up beautifully, while smaller options were able to get to work at her feet. And when 'Daks' is kicking goals, the only thing better from a Brisbane perspective is how vigorously she celebrates.


Sydney's improvement is real

While the Swans' historic first win last week was important, its 27-point loss to Geelong on Saturday actually better proved their development. After allowing the Cats to kick 102 points on them last season, resulting in a demoralising 75-point loss, Sydney made the visitors work exceptionally hard to grind out the win on the compact deck of North Sydney Oval. Save for some inaccuracy, the margin could have been narrower, but the Swans' ability to challenge a genuine premiership contender in Geelong will buoy the side.


Greta Bodey stands up in big moments

With the Hawks up by just two points in the last quarter and the Bulldogs threatening to snatch the win, new Hawthorn recruit Greta Bodey stepped up to put the game back out of reach. After a frustrating start to her career as a Hawk last week, failing to hit the scoreboard from her seven touches, Bodey's class in the clinches to turn out of traffic and put the ball through the big sticks sealed her first win in her new colours, and she celebrated to suit. Bodey finished the game with two goals from her 10 disposals and four marks, showing exactly why Hawthorn played the long game to recruit her.


Fremantle's forward chemistry needs work

Despite registering 10 more inside 50s than its opponent Collingwood, Fremantle lost by 21 points on Sunday afternoon as it failed to make the most of its forward forays. The likes of Ange Stannett (five inside 50s), Hayley Miller and Kiara Bowers (four inside 50s each) worked hard to get the ball into attack, but getting it into the hands of spearhead Aine Tighe and fellow key forward Sarah Wielstra proved difficult, even with the Pies without key defensive cogs Ruby Schleicher and Lauren Butler.


Good luck stopping the Roos' midfield duo

After Ash Riddell and Jasmine Garner each won 29 disposals and a combined 17 clearances last week, they backed it up again this week against Carlton. Riddell and Garner each had 36 disposals, 10 tackles and a combined 13 clearances to set North Melbourne up for a 10-goal win. The duo's domination at the contest makes life particularly difficult for opposition defences, who must defend the Roos' three-pronged attack of Tahlia Randall, Kate Shierlaw and Emma King off the back of quick, clean clearances higher up the ground.


The Bombers have grit

Twice in as many weeks the Bombers have had to stand up against momentum swinging against them, and turn it back their way. On Sunday afternoon in a triumphant return to Windy Hill for the club, Essendon was challenged by St Kilda in the second quarter only to grind out the win thanks to outstanding performances from Sophie Alexander, Madison Prespakis, Bonnie Toogood and Sophie Van De Heuvel. When things aren't going their way, the Bombers don't shy away from the tough contest, instead they go harder and make it work in their favour.


Kate Hore can win the competition's best and fairest award

To date, every winner of the AFLW's best and fairest award has been a tough inside midfielder, but Kate Hore has the potential to break that trend this year. Hore has taken on the captaincy at Melbourne with aplomb, and backed up her 17-disposal, one-goal round one performance with a stunner this week. On Sunday, Hore put Greater Western Sydney to the sword with five goals and 420 metres gained from 23 disposals, while also laying six tackles in the process. She is a player who can be damaging on all lines, and provides coach Mick Stinear plenty to work with throughout games depending on what moves need to be made.