Roos complete total eclipse for three quarters
AFL WOMEN’S premiership contender North Melbourne flexed its muscles against Gold Coast Suns across the first three quarters to kick off the Roos’ season with a 26-point win. Though the victory looks impressive regardless, to three quarter time the Roos had booted 6.4 to 0.1, with the lowest score on record (two behinds) in with a chance to be broken. The Suns ultimately stepped it up in the final term to boot 2.2 to 0.0, but winning coach Darren Crocker was still very pleased with what his side had been able to do for three quarters.
“I thought for the first three quarters we had the game really looking the way that we would like it to look,” Crocker said. “I thought our forward half domination was definitely there. “Again did we get enough reward for our effort and our ability to lock the ball in our front half? “Maybe not, especially in that second quarter. But I thought for three quarters we set the game up really well.
“You’ve always got to put your coaches hat on though and we just went through it then with the players. “Just a little bit disappointing in that last quarter that we went away from what had set the game up so well for the first three quarters.”
North Melbourne finished with a plus-25 in disposals, plus-14 in contested possessions and a plus-four in centre clearances, but it was the inside 50s which really separated the sides. The Kangaroos had 34 inside 50s to 15 and completely shut down the Suns from having much of a look in the first three quarters. When asked what changed in the final term, Crocker said the Suns started to get on top in those aforementioned areas.
“If you just look purely from a numbers perspective, we controlled around the contest which then set up our ability to control the outside and the territory battle,” he said. “They started winning the ball inside, they then controlled the outside a little bit more and then they controlled the territory. “Our pressure wasn’t as high as it had been at certain stages of the game, forcing them into errors and giving the ball back to us when they got it.
“I just said to the players it’s one thing to look at numbers up on a whiteboard, but we’ll drill down with a bit of vision. “This is our identity when we get it right what it looks like for those first three quarters, but then when we just slightly go away from it, this is what it looks like and what could happen.”
Two players hit their 50th game milestones in the win, with leaders Emma Kearney and Jasmine Garner both leading the way for the blue and whites. Garner racked up 27 disposals, four marks, six clearances, two tackles and a goal in an arguably best on ground performance, which Kearney helped herself to 18 disposals, five marks and four rebound 50s to be a crucial link in the chain coming of half-back.
“It’s just such a joy to be able to coach players that you know what you’re going to get pretty much every week,” Crocker said. “I feel those two in particularly along with a number of others in our leadership group, I spoke about it during the week with our five new debutants. “They’re the type of players you want to aspire to that as a coach and as teammates you just know what you’re going to get from them week-in, week-out and they were terrific against today.”
Speaking of the five debutants, Crocker said “they all chimed in at different stages”. The North coach said the coaching staff had been big on the players bringing their natural abilities to the fore, and showcasing it on the big stage.
“We spoke about them being coming into our program because they’ve got certain attributes and certain weapons and I thought at different stages they all used those. “Vikki Wall just power and speed to get out the back and tackle and be really aggressive. “Erika (O’Shea) down back being able to cover the ground and close down space.
“Charli Granville getting into really good positions, getting the shot on goal. “Sophia McCarthy her ability to mark the ball and get a couple of shots on goal as well. “Taylah Gatt with her run. I thought they all just at different stages brought the attributes and the weapons are the reasons we were keen to bring them into the program.”
North Melbourne will head to the MCG on Friday, September 2 in what shapes as a blockbuster match with Melbourne, as the sides play in a curtain raiser to the AFL Men’s finals clash between Melbourne and Sydney that night.