Season 7 AFLW preview: North Melbourne

SINCE joining the AFLW competition back in 2019, North Melbourne has always been one of the contenders, but never quite lived up to its potential, and Season 6 was no different.

The Kangaroos made it to the first week of finals last time out but got bundled out by Fremantle in what was their first loss at their Arden St fortress.

They lost some hugely experienced players in the offseason, but have recruited young talent who look like they are going to be stars at this level already, so North are an interesting proposition heading into the latest campaign.


Position: 4th (5th after finals)
Win-loss: 7-3
Percentage: 139
Best & Fairest: Ash Riddell
Leading Goalkicker: Jasmine Garner


IN: Vikki Wall (Ireland), Erika O’Shea (Ireland), Hannah Bowey (injury replacement from Collingwood VFLW), Taylah Gatt (Dandenong Stingrays), Sophia McCarthy (Williamstown VFLW), Charli Granville (Eastern Ranges), Grace Matser (Collingwood VFLW), Cassidy Mailer (Murray Bushrangers)

OUT: Kaitlyn Ashmore (Hawthorn), Daria Bannister (Essendon), Daisy Bateman (Western Bulldogs), Jessica Duffin (Hawthorn), Aileen Gilroy (Hawthorn), Lexi Hamilton (Sydney), Tara Slender (retired), Britt Gibson (delisted), Elisha King (delisted)


Sophie Abbatangelo, Nicole Bresnehan, Brooke Brown, Jenna Bruton, Hannah Bowey, Tess Craven, Bella Eddey, Jasmine Ferguson, Jasmine Garner, Taylah Gatt, Ellie Gavalas, Charli Granville, Danielle Hardiman, Emma Kearney, Emma King, Mia King, Perri King, Cassidy Mailer, Grace Matser, Ella Maurer, Sophia McCarthy, Alice O’Loughlin, Erika O’Shea, Tahlia Randall, Kimberley Rennie, Ashleigh Riddell, Zoe Savarirayan, Amy Smith, Victoria Wall, Sarah Wright

Inactive: Grace Campbell (ACL)


Round 1: vs. Gold Coast | Blundstone Arena
Round 2: @ Melbourne | ETU Stadium
Round 3: @ Adelaide | Unley Oval
Round 4: vs. Geelong | UTAS Stadium
Round 5: @ Western Bulldogs | Swinburne Centre
Round 6: vs. Sydney | Arden St Oval
Round 7: vs. Brisbane | Arden St Oval
Round 8: @ Port Adelaide | Alberton Oval
Round 9: @ Collingwood | Victoria Park
Round 10: vs. Richmond | Arden St Oval

BEST 21:

B: Danielle Hardiman – Jasmine Ferguson
HB: Emma Kearney – Brooke Brown – Sarah Wright
C: Ellie Gavalas – Jenna Bruton – Isabella Eddey
HF: Sophie Abbatangelo – Mia King – Alice O’Loughlin
F: Emma King – Tahlia Randall
R: Kim Rennie – Jasmine Garner – Ashleigh Riddell
INT: Nicole Bresnehan – Perri King – Amy Smith – Tess Craven – Ella Maurer

EMG: Taylah Gatt – Cassidy Mailer – Sophia McCarthy

Remaining players: Charli Granville, Grace Matser, Erika O’Shea (rookie), Zoe Savarirayan (rookie), Victoria Wall (rookie), Hannah Bowey

Inactive: Grace Campbell


Riddell is one of the competition’s premier midfielders, so it is hard to go past her as a contender for the League Best and Fairest.

She had a stellar season six, breaking the league record for the most disposals in a game, going on to make the All Australian squad, and finishing third in the voting at the League Best and Fairest.


To say Season 6 was not kind to King would be an understatement.

A drop in form combined with injuries meant that she certainly did not live up to her pedigree as one of the competition’s premier rucks.

Hopefully for North fans, she has been able to get her body right between seasons and is ready to go and have a red hot Season 7.


Can North Melbourne take that next step in Season 7?

Despite the talent and pedigree on its list, North Melbourne has just never quite lived up to its potential and gone past the first week of finals (apart from the cut-short 2020 season). Will the Roos buck that trend this season and go that bit further? We wait to see.

How will their Irish pair go?

In the offseason, North recruited a pair of Irish rookies – Cork’s Erika O’Shea and Meath’s Vikki Wall.

Despite being so new to the code they have both done really well in preseason and impressed the coaching staff at North.

North Melbourne is not the easiest side to break into, but have they done enough to prove the deserve a spot in the starting side and get decent game time this season?

How can North Melbourne cover the loss of experience?

North lost a significant number of key experienced players to expansion sides in the offseason, including Kaitlyn Ashmore, Jess Duffin and Daria Bannister, and the players they have brought in do not have nearly the same level of experience their departures have. How are the Kangaroos going to cover that? Who is going to step up and take a bigger role in their place?

How can they bridge the gap between them and the teams above them?

All three of North Melbourne’s losses last season came at the hands of the teams that ultimately finished in the top three, so this shows where the Kangaroos sit in the pecking order.

If the Roos want to take the next step and truly make it past the second week of the finals, they are going to need to start beating these top sides, but can they do it?


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