Roos’ “Best footy we’ve played”: Crocker

NORTH Melbourne coach Darren Crocker could not have been more pleased with his side’s performance against fellow AFL Women’s contender Collingwood, declaring it the “best footy” he has seen the Roos play during his time at the club.

The Roos took it right up to the Magpies, weathered the early storm, then dominated the second term with five consecutive goals in the quarter to effectively set up the win. Though the Magpies cut the deficit to 19 points early in the final term, the Roos steadied to kick the final two goals of the match and win by 32 points, 9.3 (57) to 4.1 (25).

Crocker said he was “very pleased” with the performance, saying his side would take plenty of belief out of the victory.

“I just spoke to the players about the belief that they should really gain in our style of football that we’re playing at the moment,” he said. It’s a really sustainable brand, and going forward going forward that they should take a lot of belief out of the game.”

The Kangaroos had 22 more disposals, 17 more inside 50s and laid a whopping 36 more tackles in a dominant all-round display, leaving the Magpies without answers as to how to quell the blue and white’s ferocity at the coalface and around the ground. Crocker described the performance as the best he had witnessed at the club.

“That’s the best footy that I think we’ve played since I’ve been in the program, and we talk about our ball movement, but I just thought it all came together just for that moment. We can again see how damaging we can be, what a damaging team we can be when we bring our identity and even if an opposition just drops off,” he said.

“Collingwood are a very, very good team, they’re well coached. Anyone in this competition if you just drop off a little bit, the better teams can really hurt you. I consider us one of the better teams, but to Collingwood’s credit, then they came at us in the third quarter. I thought they upped the ante and their pressure was good, and they started to play the game the way that they would have liked it. But it was good that we fought that armwrestle and got on top in the last.”

North Melbourne has a number of teenagers who just keep getting the job done, including Taylah Gatt, Tess Craven and Charli Granville, the latter of whom kicked two goals in the win as a late inclusion for the ill Sophie Abbatangelo.

“They’re all coming along, they’re improving,” Crocker said. What we love about it is I think our program lends itself to a real growth mindset and those players are all really driven to want to get better and just grow their games and they’re not content with where they are. I think when you bring players into your program like that and the program provides the resources where they can really improve I think it’s a really good mix.”

Next week is the final round of the regular season, with North Melbourne hosting fellow top four hopefuls Richmond at Arden Street. If the Kangaroos are able to win, and presumably Brisbane defeat Collingwood, North Melbourne will secure fourth spot on the ladder. If the Tigers win, North Melbourne will likely drop to eighth such is the tightness of the top eight.

“We spoke about that quite a few weeks ago that really our destiny for this year is in our own hands and the Tiges next week,” Crocker said. They’re going really well again they are a team that plays a pretty strong system, they’ve got some really talented players, but I just want our players to come away from this game knowing that it doesn’t matter what the opposition throw at us, but if we can play our brand of football, play to our identity, we’re a bloody hard team to beat.”

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