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The Roar


The crucial cogs of AFL's Round 2: Which players need to be the difference makers?

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Roar Guru
20th March, 2024

Round 2 and the reigning grand finalists have both lost their first two games, so the pressure is on. Brisbane and Carlton have a bye in this round. We will be taking a look at one player from the other 16 teams who will need to make the difference.

St Kilda v Collingwood

St Kilda

Tim Membrey looked in good nick in Round 1 against Geelong, as the key forward kicked three of their nine goals. The 29-year-old needs to build on that performance and hit the scoreboard once again if St Kilda are to beat Collingwood and take the pressure off Max King, which Membrey did in the narrow loss St Kilda suffered in Round 1 against the Cats.


Jordan De Goey needs to be better than he has been in the first two games of the season. De Goey is clearly a bit of a barometer for Collingwood and a player that Collingwood need to be up and going against St Kilda. The 28-year-old must shoulder some of the responsibility Nick Daicos carries, as there’s only so much that Daicos can carry, which De Goey did in the grand final against Brisbane, kicking two pivotal goals.

Adelaide v Geelong



Matt Crouch is a midfielder who was in the wilderness for the majority of the 2023 season; Crouch played just seven games, which included one as a sub, seemingly not a part of coach Matthew Nicks’ plans. The 28-year-old earned a two-year contract with his late-season form. He willed Adelaide back into the game in Round 1 against Gold Coast. The captain of Adelaide, Jordan Dawson displayed what he means to the team preseason, as Dawson referred to Crouch as: “a real barometer.” (Zero Hanger)


Jeremy Cameron looked in good form when Geelong defeated St Kilda in Round 1; the Geelong key forward polled seven coaches’ votes. The 30-year-old should expose the young Adelaide key defenders, but will need to take his opportunities, as he kicked just two goals from five scoring shots in Round 1 which would be a concern.

North Melbourne v Fremantle

North Melbourne


Tristan Xerri polled three coaches’ votes against GWS in Round 1. It will be a good battle between him and Luke Jackson in the ruck against Fremantle. There’s no disputing that it will be a key battle and if Xerri can get the better of Jackson, then North Melbourne could be competitive.


Jye Amiss could expose the lack of quality key defenders for North Melbourne, given the Fremantle key forward kicked four goals in Round 1 against Brisbane, so the 20-year-old should be full of confidence. Amiss is a player with plenty of potential and Round 2 is the perfect opportunity for him to deliver on that.

Hawthorn v Melbourne


Mitch Lewis had an average game in Round 1, as he finished with one goal and two behinds. In what should be a tough game for him against Melbourne, at the very least, Lewis must make a contest and take away the intercept marks that Melbourne defenders Steven May and Jake Lever sweat on, which will give Jack Ginnivan and Dylan Moore the opportunity to kick goals.



Kade Chandler is a player that has plenty of scope for improvement. The 24-year-old should gain confidence from kicking three goals in Round 1 against the Western Bulldogs and take that belief into the game against Hawthorn.

Sydney v Essendon


Errol Gulden should be up for the challenge of playing against an Essendon team that should find it hard to stop his influence on the game. The 21-year-old will be pivotal in what may prove to be a danger game for Sydney against the Bombers.

Chad Warner and Errol Gulden celebrate a goal.

Chad Warner and Errol Gulden celebrate a goal. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)



Kyle Langford kicked three goals in just over a quarter when the game was there to be won in Round 1 against Hawthorn. The 27-year-old could prove to be a tough match-up for Sydney, most probably against Dane Rampe, and if the game is close, could also prove to be a match-winner.

Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast

Western Bulldogs

Jamarra Ugle-Hagan needs to be better than he was in Round 1 against Melbourne; the key forward missed opportunities, as he didn’t kick straight when the Western Bulldogs needed a goal. At the very least, he needs to provide a contest against Charlie Ballard and Sam Collins, which will give Rhylee West and Cody Weightman a chance to go to work.

Gold Coast

Matt Rowell has been a revelation in the opening two games of the season and will need to replicate his performances against a Western Bulldogs midfield comprising of Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Liberatore and Adam Treloar. The young prospect has been outstanding and has averaged the most contested possessions per game with 23.


Richmond v Port Adelaide


Toby Nankervis showed that Richmond is a better team with him in it, as they performed much better with him in the team in Round 1 against Carlton than they did in Opening Round against Gold Coast. There’s no doubt that Nankervis’ leadership brings plenty to the Tigers; polling one coaches’ vote against Carlton, which was well deserved. It will be a great test for Nankervis against Port Adelaide, who will be up against former teammate Ivan Soldo who polled three coaches’ votes against West Coast in Round 1.

Port Adelaide

Jason Horne-Francis is a player that doesn’t have to accumulate 30 disposals to impact the contest, which he displayed in Round 1 against West Coast where he had 12 score involvements from 20 disposals! The former No.1 draft pick should be up for the game against Richmond and they will find it tough to find a match-up for him. The 20-year-old should be up for this game as it’s Boak’s 350th and according to the club, they spent plenty of time together over preseason.

West Coast v GWS

West Coast


Liam Duggan needs to lead from the front in what should be a shellacking against a Giants squad that’s arguably the best team in the competition as it stands. The 50-point margin flattered West Coast, who were fortunate that Port Adelaide kicked inaccurately in Round 1.


Jake Riccardi got GWS off to a good start in Round 1 with three first-quarter goals and finished the game with ten score involvements. It will be interesting to see if Riccardi is matched up against Jeremy McGovern, as Riccardi will need to limit the impact McGovern has on the game.