Season 8 AFLW preview: North Melbourne

SEASON 7 was another season of ‘so close, yet so far’ for North Melbourne.

Again they got so close to an elusive first Grand Final in making the Preliminary Final, but could not take that next step and make the big dance.

But after a largely successful offseason in terms of list management, do they finally have all the ingredients they need to finally make that step?


#1 Elizabeth McGrath
#2 Charli Granville
#3 Bella Eddey
#4 Zoe Savarirayan
#5 Tess Craven
#6 Alice O’Loughlin
#7 Ash Riddell
#8 Taylah Gatt
#9 Emma Kearney
#10 Cassidy Mailer
#11 Eliza Shannon
#12 Nicole Bresnehan
#13 Vikki Wall *
#14 Erika O’Shea
#15 Amy Smith
#16 Tahlia Randall
#17 Sarah Wright
#18 Hannah Bowey
#19 Ruby Tripodi
#20 Jasmine Ferguson
#21 Sophia McCarthy
#22 Ellie Gavalas
#23 Mia King
#24 Lucinda Pullar
#25 Jasmine Garner
#26 Kim Rennie
#27 Ailish Considine
#28 Niamh Martin
#29 Lucy Burke
#33 Kate Shierlaw
#35 Jenna Bruton
#60 Emma King

* inactive list


In: Liz McGrath, Eliza Shannon, Ruby Tripodi, Lulu Pullar, Ailish Considine, Niamh Martin, Lucy Burke, Kate Shierlaw
Sophie Abbatangelo, Grace Campbell, Perri King, Grace Matser, Ella Maurer, Danielle Hardiman, Brooke Brown, Vikki Wall (inactive list)


Round 1: vs. St Kilda @ Blundestone Arena
Round 2: vs. Carlton @ Arden St Oval
Round 3: vs. Geelong @ GMHBA Stadium
Round 4: vs. Brisbane @ UTas Stadium
Round 5: vs. GWS @ Arden St Oval
Round 6: vs. Fremantle @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Round 7: vs. Port Adelaide @ Arden St Oval
Round 8: vs. Melbourne @ Ikon Park
Round 9: vs. Adelaide @ Wigan Oval
Round 10: vs. Western Bulldogs @ Whitten Oval


  • Consistent challenger
  • Elite midfield
  • List stability
  • Inclusion of Kate Shierlaw

Despite never going all the way, North Melbourne continued to prove in Season 7 that they really are one of the top sides of the AFLW, making the final four.

Off the back of this, the top end of their list remains pretty much in tact in the offseason. Although there were eight departures, not many of them were getting regular games anyway.

They also managed to land a huge fish in Kate Shierlaw, whose strong marking ability and proven ability to play at both ends of the ground will be a huge asset to the Kangaroos.


  • Can they take that next step?
  • How does Darren Crocker manage all his talls?

Despite being one of the consistent challengers for the premiership, North have never managed to go all the way. Do they finally have all the pieces they need to take that final step and make that first Grand Final?

Also one challenge that coach Darren Crocker has on his hands is how many talls he has, particularly key forwards, and how he manages all of them. With the addition of the likes of Shierlaw and Lucy Burke alongside the likes of those already there like Emma King and Tahlia Randall, that is a lot of height in attack. Does this mean Crocker changes his game plan to suit a taller forward line or do players miss out on game time?


It is hard to go past captain Emma Kearney to be a contender for the Best and Fairest once again.

She is the only player in the history of the competition to make the All Australian team in every season of the competition’s history and although she has moved into more of a defensive role in recent seasons, she is still proving how valuable she is to this side.

Young Irish talent Erika O’Shea showed glimpses of how exciting she can be in her first season Down Under last year, playing every game until a nasty eye injury meant she missed out on finals.


Now with a full season and another preseason under her belt and becoming more and more comfortable playing her new sport, O’Shea is primed to really show the AFLW what she is capable of this season.


It is hard to see the Kangaroos not being a challenger for the flag once again. They are regularly up the top of the table and made the Preliminary Final last year and their best 22 is largely in tact and even stronger with the introduction of Shierlaw.

The question will be can they take that next step to go all the way? Can they tweak that last piece of the puzzle to make the Grand Final for the first time?

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