BRISBANE has recorded an important seven-point victory over North Melbourne, boosting its chances of a top-two finish.
The Roos appear to be starting to close the gap on the top echelon, but their own inaccuracy was their undoing in the 5.3 (33) to 3.8 (26) loss at Arden Street.
KANGAROOS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats
North Melbourne dominated large portions of the first quarter, but struggled to get deep and effective inside 50s, the Lions defence holding strong for the most part.
The Roos looked most threatening when sending the ball towards twin towers Emma King and Tahlia Randall, with Kate Lutkins the only genuine tall defender in the vicinity, but Randall once again struggled badly with accuracy, kicking three behinds in the first half.
Brisbane, by contrast, took full advantage of its opportunities in attack, kicking 3.1 from its 11 inside 50 entries in the first half, with Jesse Wardlaw a constant overhead threat, and took a two-point lead into half-time.
Talismanic Lions key Dakota Davidson finally saluted for her first goal of the season to open the third term – celebrating with style – but Emma Kearney put the captain's cape on, streaming forward to salute with a goal to keep the Roos in it.
Ally Anderson worked tirelessly all day for her 22 disposals and seven clearances, while Jas Garner was North Melbourne's most influential player with 20 disposals, six marks and three clearances.
Shannon Campbell had appeared to suffer a calf injury late in the match, but it was just cramp, while Zimmie Farquharson dislocated her pinkie finger in the second term but returned after half time.
North Melbourne's final shot at goal through Sophie Abbatangelo appeared to nearly be bizarrely affected by the boundary umpire, who collapsed with cramp and couldn't move off the field.
These two sides have the starting midfields any team would be thrilled to have, with Ash Riddell, Jasmine Garner and Jenna Bruton going head to head with Emily Bates, Ally Anderson and Cathy Svarc. The ruck battle was its own interesting equation, seeing Emma King and Kim Rennie taking on Tahlia Hickie and Taylor Smith. The Lions comfortably had the edge in the midfield (clearances), overriding the slight edge the Roos had the in ruck.
One of the goals of the season?
Ruby Svarc is Brisbane's energizer bunny, providing plenty of spark up forward, and she made the Arden Street wing her own in the second term. Receiving the ball at half-back, she took three bounces before passing off to a teammate. Continuing to push forward, she laid a tackle on Sarah Wright in the same passage of play, rewarded with a free kick and duly converting for a stunning solo effort.
"The corresponding loss last season at the start of the year out at Whitten Oval against Brisbane, we got comprehensively beaten. I said that to the players, you contrast that game to today's game, we played some pretty good football, we put one of the best team's in the competition under enormous pressure. There were probably just some lapses, moments in the game that cost us, but that's a far more sustainable brand of football." – North Melbourne coach Darren Crocker
"Just a gritty win. It wasn't one of our better performances, the opposition were good in a lot of areas, particularly their best five out there, they were awesome. So to be able to win like that when you just grit it out and probably take your moments – in the third quarter we had a lot of ball in our forward 50, and we actually took the opportunity to score, which was pleasing." – Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich
Brisbane has a genuine belter on its hands, hosting fierce rival Adelaide at Metricon Stadium on Friday night. North Melbourne has a slightly easier assignment, travelling to Alberton Oval to face Port Adelaide.
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.2 2.5 3.6 3.8 (26)
BRISBANE 2.0 3.1 5.3 5.3 (33)
North Melbourne: E.King, Wall, Kearney
Brisbane: Hodder, Wardlaw, R.Svarc, Davidson, Bodey
North Melbourne: Garner, Riddell, Kearney, Bruton, E.King
Brisbane: Anderson, Bates, Dawes, Hickie, Davidson
North Melbourne: Nil
Brisbane: Farquharson (finger), Campbell (lower leg)