Sophie Conway celebrates a goal during round three, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

WE ONCE again saw the highest scoring round in AFLW history as plenty of players came to the fore.

The best teams continue to rise to the occasion, with North Melbourne, Adelaide and Melbourne still undefeated three rounds in, while Erin Phillips and Jesse Wardlaw both finally kicked their first goal in their new colours.

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

Mia King is thriving under the radar

With plenty focus on Jasmine Garner and Ash Riddell in North Melbourne's midfield, emerging onballer Mia King is playing more than just a supporting role to the pair. Given Riddell's output was marginally down on her very high standards, King helped drive the Roos' clearance dominance on Friday evening against Geelong, winning eight from her 25 disposals, while also applying plenty of defensive pressure with 13 tackles. Her efforts at ground level truly makes the Kangaroos that much more dangerous.


Richmond has found balance in its game

Last season the Tigers caught teams out by playing a game driven by chaos and one-percenters in the clinches. This season, they have found a balance between getting games on their own terms by maintaining clean possession, and reverting to a chaos game when necessary. This was clear against the Giants on Saturday afternoon where, despite registering 19 fewer marks and 20 fewer uncontested possessions than their opponents, the Tigers were able to persist through for the win, kicking 53 points in the process.


The Crows will consistently wear you down

Adelaide doesn't do the bulk of its scoring in a short period of time. Instead, it consistently wears down its opponents on the scoreboard through a wide array of options, while preventing its opposition to do the same. Against Essendon on Saturday afternoon the Crows enjoyed seven individual goalkickers, four of which kicked multiple goals. This spread of attack has allayed any concerns that the side's downfall this year would be its ability to score and makes it so much more difficult for teams to shut them down.


Melbourne isn't afraid to play ugly

Across the opening fortnight of the season Melbourne has played some slick footy, largely getting games on its terms and slicing through opponents with a quick handball game through the corridor. But against the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon the Demons had to find a way to win in the face of immense pressure and tricky weather conditions. With an intense wind to combat in the air, and a strong Bulldogs presence at ground level, smooth attacking transition was hard to come by. What Melbourne showed, however, was a willingness to persist across the four quarters, ultimately able to maintain the rage for longer than the Dogs.


Aine Tighe loves playing the Hawks

In Fremantle's win over Hawthorn on Saturday afternoon, Aine Tighe once again led the way for the Dockers. To go with her three goals and career-high 20 disposals, Tighe took 12 marks – just two away from the AFLW record – to provide a real presence up forward. It is Tighe's second big performance in as many games against the Hawks, after kicking four goals from 14 disposals in round 10 last season.


Erin Phillips' first Port goal came at the right time

As Port Adelaide was edging closer and closer to its second ever win, the young side desperately needed someone to stand up and put the game beyond doubt. And captain Erin Phillips delivered. It may have taken Phillips 13 games in the Power colours to finally slot career goal No.51, but as tends to be the case with her, she produces the most important moments when the pressure is at its greatest.


Keeley Skepper is ready to rise

Telling during pre-season that she wants to play 200 games for Carlton, Keeley Skepper has already made a huge leap in just her second season. With three goals, 23 disposals and 397 metres gained in the Blues' huge win over West Coast, Skepper has shown just how damaging she can be both in the forward line and on the wing. As Carlton continues to develop its chemistry, Skepper has proven she is a player around whom a strong team can be built.


Bad kicking = bad football

Despite dominating the second quarter and registering 12 inside 50s to three, Collingwood simply couldn't make that territory control translate on the scoreboard against Gold Coast on Sunday. The Pies were able to kick just three behinds from those 12 forward entries, while the Suns slammed through two goals from their three to really make a statement. Collingwood ultimately finished with three more scoring shots than the visitors, but were wasteful in front of goal and are certainly feeling the effects, slumping to just one win from three games.


Sophie Conway epitomises Brisbane

Hard-running winger Sophie Conway's performance in Brisbane's 55-point win over Sydney on Sunday epitomised exactly what the Lions are about. Covering a significant amount of ground, her want to get forward and attack is important, but equally important is her willingness to get back and support her teammates in defence. Finishing the game with three goals, 17 disposals and four intercepts, she was rewarded for her hard work, as were the Lions.