NORTH Melbourne has maintained top spot on the NAB AFL Women's ladder, flexing its muscle on a younger St Kilda outfit on Sunday.
The Roos were made to work in the early parts before they pulled away with two final-quarter goals against a stiff breeze in front of a sellout crowd at Arden Street Oval.
KANGAROOS v SAINTS Full match coverage and stats
Conceding just one goal for the second consecutive week, the Roos kept their impressive percentage intact and ran out 5.6 (36) to 1.4 (10) winners in the inaugural AFLW Pride Round.
The Saints' loss was further soured by an injury to Bianca Jakobsson, the recruit failing to return after half-time with a corked back in her first game back from a broken collarbone.
Saints youngster Georgia Patrikios (27 disposals) was prolific alongside first-year sidekick Tyanna Smith (15 disposals), the pair taking it up to the more experienced Roos midfield with the run of the play in the second term.
But the maturity of Emma Kearney (22 disposals), Jenna Bruton (22) and Jasmine Garner (18) shone through after the main break.
Tasmanian Ellie Gavalas kicked an important goal in the third term after she was dumped in a dangerous tackle by Saint Tarni White.
An uncontested mark and major on the goal line from Garner was enough to ice the game early in the final term before Ash Riddell chimed in with a goal to go with seven last-term disposals in a sparkling finish.
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If Tahlia Randall's one-handed contested mark wasn't impressive enough, the Roos defender then slotted her maiden AFLW goal from beyond 40m from the ensuing set shot. The former Lion was swamped by teammates to celebrate her first major in her 31st game in the competition.
Leading from the front
On the same day she spoke about her relationship with St Kilda captain Kate Shierlaw for the first time, Roos skipper Emma Kearney was instrumental in her side's win in the inaugural AFLW Pride Round. The onballer finished with 22 disposals and drew praise from coach Darren Crocker for her leadership in the final term as the Roos kicked clear.
Playing her debut game for St Kilda, ex-Melbourne and Carlton tall Bianca Jakobsson (pictured below) took no part in the second half after sustaining a corked back. It was her first game back after a speedy recovery following collarbone surgery in mid-January. Teammate Jayde Van Dyk also had a scare in the warm-up, rushing from the field requiring a dislocated finger to be put back into place.
"I thought our leaders all responded well in the last quarter. We spoke about creating their own history and legacy playing here and those two girls (Emma Kearney and Ash Riddell) lifted the group." – North Melbourne coach Darren Crocker
"They got the jump on us in the first quarter and I felt we only played one quarter (second) the way we want to play. North are an outstanding side, they've got a got great list, they started with a great list and they've been gifted top-10 players every year to top up." – St Kilda coach Peta Searle
NORTH MELBOURNE 2.2 2.3 3.6 5.6 (36)
ST KILDA 0.1 1.4 1.4 1.4 (10)
North Melbourne: Bateman, Randall, Gavalas, Garner, Riddell
St Kilda: Smith
North Melbourne: Kearney, Bruton, Riddell, Gavalas, Garner, Gillespie-Jones
St Kilda: Patrikios, Shierlaw, Phillips, Smith, Lucas-Rodd, Priest
North Melbourne: Nil
St Kilda: Jakobsson (corked back)
Crowd: 1977 at Arden Street Oval
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