Jude Bolton's Round 2 AFL heroes and villains

Round 2 was not one for the tippers, with only four teams finishing the round unbeaten and plenty of mixed results.

The form from Round 1 was turned on its head with some sides producing some fantastic upsets, including Essendon's effort over Melbourne, and the two newest sides GWS and Gold Coast holding strong to both gain big victories.

One side to disappoint in the second round was the Geelong Cats who couldn't reproduce their Round one form. Maybe their win over the Hawks on Easter Monday had taken its toll, but it was a disappointing effort from Cats on the road in Canberra.

For the Giants, their effort and toughness in the game really paved the way for their upset over the Cats. Shane Mumford was crashing in - just ask Mitch Duncan who felt the full effect of a rampaging Mummy. Steve Johnson was brilliant in his first outing against his old club, scoring two goals and flooring several of his ex-teammates.

North Melbourne rolled on for a second straight win, while Hawthorn bounced back from their opening round shock, taking it to West Coast in their Grand Final rematch.

The Showdown saw the Adelaide Crows make a massive statement against Port Adelaide with their midfield dominant and their forwards Tom Lynch (six goals), Eddie Betts (five goals) and Josh Jenkins (four goals), proving unstoppable.

Collingwood's one-point victory over Richmond was another thrilling upset during the round, with Brodie Grundy nailing a last gasp kick to secure the victory. But the win over Richmond was tinged with a sour note as an unsavoury political banner with bigoted views was brought into the MCG.


The Essendon Football Club: What an effort. Many experts and fans feared the Bombers wouldn't win a single game this season, and it only took two matches to prove the doubters wrong.

It was their first home game of the season and the players appeared to be inspired by the several thousand fans who marched to the MCG before the match as a show of solidarity over the ongoing fallout from the club's supplements saga.

Despite lacking 12 senior players and coming off a 10-goal loss to the Suns in Round 1, the Bombers were superb against the pitiful Demons. They were 'on' from the opening bounce and outworked and outsmarted their lacklustre opponents.

Leaders Brendon Goddard and David Zaharakis set the tone for their team-mates but it was the performance of two young Dons that would have got their fans most excited. Zach Merrett (32 touches, eight tackles, two goals) showed he's on his way to becoming an elite midfielder, while big Joe Daniher (21 possessions, 15 marks and two goals - it could have been five or six if he brought his kicking boots) mauled the Melbourne defence.

The Suns: Gold Coast took on the tough road trip to Perth, having never won at Domain Stadium in eight attempts or ever having beaten the Dockers at any stadium. They blew away Fremantle on their home deck with a dazzling combination of sublime skills and deadly transition play in a seven-goal second quarter.

Gary Ablett was quiet by his standards (23 touches, one goal) but the fact the Suns can now win without a huge game from their little master is a wonderful sign.

Tom Lynch is a superstar, while several others now look ready to dominate at AFL level - Aaron Hall, Jack Martin, Callum Ah Chee and Adam Saad were all outstanding against the Dockers.

Keep that up, and a maiden finals berth is a distinct possibility.

Sydney Swans' ruck combination: The Sydney Swans were brilliant again in round two but it was their ruck combination of Callum Sinclair and Kurt Tippett that took control of the game against Carlton on Sunday night.

Sharing seven goals between them, while also claiming 14 marks in a dominant display, Sinclair and Tippett have proved they both can compete in the middle; but are legitimate scoring options inside the forward 50, too.

Joining the side during the trade period after the retirement of Mike Pyke, Sinclair has already forged a strong combination with Tippett, becoming a vital cog for the Swans in their push for the top four this September


Richmond: How did the Tigers lose that game? They had the four points in the bag on Friday night against Collingwood, only to lose their way through sloppy errors and perhaps some mental fragility.

While credit has to go to the Magpies for fighting until the final siren, you wonder what Richmond's leaders were doing in those final minutes. Late in the game, Alex Rance, normally so dependable, was jumpy and gave away a crucial free-kick goal to Alex Fasolo; Ty Vickery centred the ball rather than take a shot and soak up time, and Shaun Grigg decided to play on instead of taking the time to have a shot from just outside 50.

It was sloppy stuff from a Richmond side that should be better at doing the fundamentals right in the clutch moments.

The Demons:The Dees have gone from heroes to villains within a week after their pitiful display against the Bombers at the MCG on Saturday. They must have read their own press during the week because they were simply deplorable against a team many expected to go winless in 2016.

Melbourne are a club that not long ago was on its knees, and hasn't had a successful season since 2006 - they haven't earned the right to take clubs lightly like they appeared to against Essendon.

They looked sluggish and disinterested from the opening bounce, struggling to get their hands on the ball and making the errors that have tarnished their game for so long.

All their good work through the pre-season and in Round 1 will be undone if they continue in that vein, and the task doesn't get any easier - games against North Melbourne, Collingwood and Richmond are coming up.

Charlie Dixon: The Power turned in a stinker in their Showdown against Adelaide on Saturday. Ken Hinkley would have battled to name more than a handful of individual winners against the red-hot Crows, but Dixon would perhaps be his biggest headache.

With Jay Schulz a late withdrawal, the former Sun needed to roll up the sleeves but struggled to get any separation from Daniel Talia. Finishing with a paltry eight disposals and a single behind, Dixon at times looked frustrated and uncompetitive.

We all know Dixon had an interrupted pre-season but he's on a big contract and was brought in to inspire a premiership tilt by the Power. He needs to lift dramatically if Port are to make amends from their freefall last season.