A DEEP list and team balance is what Melbourne forward Kate Hore credits for her side's impressive start to the season.
Despite missing key players in each of the first two rounds due to the competition's health and safety protocols, the Demons haven't missed a beat and remain one of just four undefeated teams.
"In what world do you win and have five changes?" Hore said.
"But I think you can't get too caught up in who you're missing and instead just focus on who you bring in."
It's a side that has enough flexibility and strength to reasonably replace key players if they are unavailable.
"Scotty [Shelley Scott] was obviously a huge loss on the weekend, but then you have Jacqui Parry stepping into her role. We've got girls that can just step up and fill those voids," Hore said.
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Amongst all of this, Hore herself is having a strong start to the season. The forward has kicked four goals, been involved in 12 scores and polled coaches votes in both rounds. This, according to Hore, is thanks to her philosophy that you "train the way you play".
Hitting pre-season hard, the forward is covering the ground well, an ability that suits the Demons' slick game style.
"As a high forward, I can kind of get up the ground to help defend, but then I've got to get back to the forward line, so that can get pretty tiring at times. I was cramping up with the hot weather," Hore admitted.
But on Friday it was a teammate who stole the show with her run and carry from up the field. Alyssa Bannan's stunning goal in the second quarter was "probably not a surprise" to her teammates because "she honestly does that at training every other week."
Nonetheless, Hore considered it "bloody impressive, that's for sure."
In 2021, Melbourne had hit a bump in the road, losing two games on the trot before facing St Kilda at Casey Fields to get their season back on track. In that game, Hore had a career-high 20 disposals and seven marks on the way to the side's biggest win of the season.
Staring down the barrel of round three, 2022, Hore is excited to be returning to the Demons' home ground to take on the Saints again.
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"It's Pride Round and we're wearing our jumper designed by my good friend and former teammate Tegan Cunningham, so I am very excited to run out in those," Hore said.
"We just want to keep building, keep working on the things we've debriefed on because we definitely don't feel like we've hit our straps yet."
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