Classy midfielder Jasmine Garner dictated from the opening seconds as her North Melbourne side charged to a comfortable 40-point opening round AFLW win over St Kilda at Hobart’s Blundstone Arena.
The Kangaroos scored the first 37 points of the game and kept the Saints scoreless in the first half on their way to an 8.8 (56) to 2.4 (16) win.
The Saints came out snarling after halftime but inaccurate kicking meant they only outscored North by nine points to trail by 27 going to the last break.
North punished them for their profligacy, kicking the first three goals of the last term.
“I thought St Kilda, to their credit, really threw it us at In the third quarter, but it was nice for our girls to respond in the last,” North Melbourne coach Darren Crocker said.
Five-time All-Australian Garner won the first clearance of the game and within 20 seconds kicked a fine goal on the run from 45 metres.
Garner produced a complete midfielder’s performance, notching an equal game-high 29 possessions and match-best tallies in clearances (11) and metres gained (473).
Ash Riddell also chalked up 29 touches while Emma Kearney and Mia King contributing strongly.
North’s Tahlia Randell and Emma King both kicked two goals, though the latter managed just two points from her first three shots.
“Starting the year with a strong win just gives us more evidence that our pre-season was a good and strong pre-season,” Crocker said.
St Kilda's defensive workload was highlighted by the fact they had the game’s top two tackers in Nicola Xenos with 11 and Hannah Priest, 10.
North were ahead 21-0 at quarter-time and 36-0 at the half, as the Saints struggled to fashion scoring opportunities .
“I just felt like we’d gone away from a lot of things that I felt like we worked on over the pre-season,” Saints coach Nick Dal Santo told Fox Footy.
Saints finally got on the board six minutes into the third quarter, when Hannah Stuart converted a set shot from a free kick.
They had the next four shots as well, but missed the opportunity to add more pressure on as those attempts yielded only a behind, before North regained the ascendancy.