North Melbourne is in the worst position its been in after three rounds of an AFLW season, sitting outside the top eight on a 1-2 record.
The Roos took it up to both Narrm and Adelaide before fading late, after being in winning positions in the final terms of both games.
It’s only the third time in the club’s history that it has lost back-to-back games – the other two times were also against finalists of that season.
Over their time, it’s become a concerning trend for the Kangaroos. They’re on a three-season finals streak, but can’t consistently overcome the best in the competition.
Many thought they’d gotten over their hoodoo in season six, defeating both Fremantle and Collingwood in strong showings.
But once again the finals proved a hurdle they couldn’t jump, going down to the Dockers in their second meeting by 38 points.
Speaking to media on Tuesday, even despite the results, star midfielder Jasmine Garner was firm in her belief that they still have what it takes to be a contender in season seven.
“We’ve got a lot of belief inside the group,” she said.
“We are disappointed with the results the last two weeks. We’re not just here for honourable losses.
“It’s obviously not ideal to be 1-2. We also look at it [as] we’ve played the two grand finalists from last year.
“We’ve come close to Melbourne by two points, and a couple of goals to Adelaide. Both those games could have gone either way. Now, we know we’ve got a lot of work to do.
“Hopefully we can start putting some wins on the board because it is a short season. We want to play finals.”Embed from Getty Images
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After building up a strong team across their first four seasons in the AFLW, the Kangaroos have started to feel the effects of expansion on their own squad.
Aileen Gilroy, Jess Duffin and Kaitlyn Ashmore departed for Hawthorn in the off-season, while Daria Bannister became an Essendon player. Daisy Bateman, meanwhile, left in a trade to the Western Bulldogs.
It’s left the Roos significantly younger and more imbalanced across the ground. While Garner and Ash Riddell are leading the charge in the midfield, they’re now surrounded by players still learning their craft.
The likes of Alice O’Loughlin, Amy Smith, Vikki Wall, Erika O’Shea, Sophia McCarthy and Charli Granville are still in their first handful of games, playing important roles.
“We want to start winning these close games, but we know we have a bit of a different team to last year as well,” Garner said.
“I think it’s six new players, a couple of the Irish girls still learning it a little bit. I think we’ve still got a lot of growth this year. We definitely think we can take it up to those top teams.”
They’ll have the opportunity to get another win on the board this Friday evening against competition risers Geelong. The club has already matched its two wins from last season, and has been the league benchmark when it comes to pressure.
Collingwood barely got over the line against Geelong last week, with milestone-woman Sabrina Frederick admitting how hard the side makes it to execute across four quarters.
This is reflected in their results: the Cats are the best defensive team in the competition, lead from the back by captain Meg McDonald and forward-turned-defender Claudia Gunjaca.Embed from Getty Images
Garner will be going head to head two of the three competition’s top players for contested possessions in Amy McDonald and Georgie Prespakis, taking up second place herself.
With hopes that their successful Tasmanian stomping ground will give them the edge, Garner isn’t taking the Cats lightly at all.
“We know Geelong won’t be an easy opponent, they’re in some good form as well,” she said.
“Hopefully we can get back on the winners list, we’ve had a rough couple of weeks, a couple of almost games.
“We’ve had some good patches, but also some areas to improve on as well. I guess going forward, we’ll look to try a few new things, especially with how we use the ball going forward.
“We’re definitely liking what we’re doing in there, but looking to improve as well.”
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