Too good: Roos score runaway AFLW victory

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After a minor scare against Richmond, North Melbourne improved its season record to five wins from six games

The North Melbourne juggernaut rolls on.

Darren Crocker’s Roos flexed their muscles after Richmond skipper Katie Brennan – against the breeze – pulled her Tigers within five points in the early stages of the second half.

North’s one-two punch of Jasmine Garner and Ash Riddell, who won 18 of her game-high 29 disposals in the second half, proved a class above as the Roos cantered away to a 5.7 (37) to 2.6 (18) triumph.

The Kangaroos are now one of only three teams with five wins for the season, joining undefeated Adelaide and Fremantle at the top of the ladder.

Richmond defied a lopsided inside-50 count until the third term, in large part because of in-form defender Rebecca Miller and Sarah D’Arcy, but there was an inevitability about the result.

What was a manageable deficit suddenly blew out when Sophie Abbatangelo snapped truly then the tough Daria Bannister converted a set shot after leaving the ground in the first quarter after a heavy hit.

Bannister and Daisy Bateman (ankle) both returned after potential game-ending injuries.

Neither side kicked a goal in the final term, with the Abbatangelo and Bannister goals effectively ending the plucky Tigers’ resistance despite them having the aid of the wind at the end.

North Melbourne terrorised Richmond with intense tackle pressure, particularly in its attacking 50, with Mia King (six tackles), Garner (five) and Jenna Bruton (five) contributing as much as anyone.

Garner (26, one goal, seven clearances) was best afield again, a week after scoring a maximum 10 coaches’ votes as the Roos inflicted the Dockers’ first defeat of the season.

Only the relentless Riddell could challenge her for that honour, but they were far from the only influential North players.

Tahlia Randall was again a reliable target up forward, while Emma Kearney (21) worked her way into the contest, Ellie Gavalas was good from go-to-whoa and Bruton added offence to her defensive pressure.

This was never supposed to be a competitive match on paper, given the Tigers started the afternoon with one victory from five games.

They also lost Laura McClelland (syndesmosis) and Hannah Burchell (ACL) to season-ending injuries last week.

But coach Ryan Ferguson would be pleased with the way they fought, including Monique Conti, who finished with 25 disposals after having only nine to half-time.

Riddell is ridiculously good

It’s no secret that Roos midfielder Ash Riddell is an outstanding player. After battling to get her AFLW chance, she is now one of the best players in the competition. Playing alongside Jasmine Garner and Emma Kearney means Riddell might not always get the attention she deserves, but there’s no doubting her worth to North. Garner was clearly best afield at the main break but Riddell outperformed her, and everyone else, in an 18-possession second half.

Inside-50 avalanche

Even when Richmond was competitive on the scoreboard, it was doing so with far fewer inside 50s. The Roos had a 22-9 advantage at half-time, 34-12 by three-quarter time and 43-18 at the finish. That owed to their superiority in general play and skills, but also to North’s excellent pressure once in its attacking arc. The Kangaroos had 15 inside-50 tackles to the Tigers’ one at one stage before it ended a more respectable 16-5. Coach Darren Crocker must be thrilled with that.

Bang, crash, Brennan

Richmond captain Katie Brennan wasted no time making an impact on Saturday. She had the first shot at goal, then snaffled a strong grab across half-forward before almost bringing down another – all within the first few minutes. Brennan’s aerial work was impressive all afternoon, whether inside 50 or across half-back, and she appeared to give the Tigers a chance with a set-shot finish early in the third term.

TIGERS 0.1 1.3 2.3 2.6 (18)

KANGAROOS 1.2 3.2 5.5 5.7 (37)

BEST Tigers: Miller, Conti, Brennan, D’Arcy, McKenzie, Seymour Kangaroos: Garner, Riddell, Gavalas, Randall, Kearney, Bruton

GOALS Tigers: Yassir, Brennan Kangaroos: Randall, M. King, Garner, Abbatangelo, Bannister

INJURIES Tigers: Nil Kangaroos: Bateman (ankle)

Punt Road Oval

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

MARC McGOWAN’S VOTES

3 J. Garner (NM)

2 A. Riddell (NM)

1 R. Miller (Rich)

Originally published as AFLW: North Melbourne joins Adelaide and Fremantle with five victories thanks to runaway win over Richmond


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