NORTH Melbourne has piled on its biggest ever score to defeat Yartapuulti by 63 points on Sunday afternoon.
A stunning performance from the Kangaroos' one-two punch of Jasmine Garner and Ash Riddell led the home side to the 13.9 (87) to 3.6 (24) victory at Arden Street.
KANGAROOS v POWER Full match coverage and stats
In career game No.50, Riddell (35 disposals, seven tackles, two goals) was super effective in her clearance work, working more as the outlet option, powering away from the contest and sending the ball forward, while Garner (39 disposals, eight clearances, 789 metres gained) often caught her opposition out with her spread from the contest.
Mia King's efforts through the middle were instrumental to Riddell and Garner's commanding performances, as she fed the ball out quickly and efficiently from congestion.
Given its wealth of talent right across the field, North Melbourne transitioned the ball beautifully, able to find nine avenues to goal, including a personal best three goals from Alice O'Loughlin, as it put the foot down after the first break.
Yartapuulti started with strength, using pressure and powerful clearances to maintain the ball in attack for an extended portion of the first quarter and kicked the opening goal by way of returning key forward Julia Teakle. It was when the Roos were able to breach the Power's high defensive wall, however, that they were able to work into acres of space in attack.
Once it settled into the game, North Melbourne began to dominate possession, ultimately winning the disposal count 321 to 183.
A lack of composure from Yartapuulti let it down at times, often attempting to move the ball too quickly and playing directly into the hands of Kangaroos Jasmine Ferguson and Sarah Wright who set up camp behind the play.
Back in a defensive role due to Janelle Cuthbertson's absence, Ange Foley was a shining light for Yartapuulti with seven intercepts and 359 metres gained, while young ruck Matilda Scholz (23 hitouts, four clearances) fought admirably against the experienced duo of Kim Rennie and Emma King.
This season Yartapuulti has consistently given up big possession numbers to its opposition, making it hard to control the footy and defend well. Against North Melbourne on Sunday afternoon, it was no different, allowing the Roos to win 321 disposals to the Power's 183, with the top six possession getters on the ground all from the home side. It is something Lauren Arnell is no doubt trying to address, but with a young side and injuries to some key players, it likely becomes one of many off-season tasks.
Whatever you can do, I can do better
In the second quarter the floodgates began to open for North Melbourne as it kicked 3.3 (21) to Yartapuulti's three behinds. A feature of its scoring was a stunning goal from deep in the pocket from star midfielder Ash Riddell in her 50th career game, only for Tahlia Randall to go one better from almost the same spot mere minutes later. In the final quarter, however, Alice O'Loughlin bested them all with a bouncing shot from the boundary line in that same pocket, and celebrated accordingly.
North Melbourne will face Narrm at Ikon Park on Saturday evening in a match that is sure to shape the top two, while Yartapuulti returns to its home of Alberton Oval to face Gold Coast on Saturday afternoon.
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.2 4.5 8.7 13.9 (87)
YARTAPUULTI 1.2 1.5 2.6 3.6 (24)
North Melbourne: O'Loughlin 3, Riddell 2, Randall 2, Smith, Shierlaw, Pullar, Gatt, Garner, Bruton
Yartapuulti: Teakle, Keryk, Houghton
North Melbourne: Riddell, Garner, Bruton, O'Loughlin, M.King, O'Shea
Yartapuulti: Scholz, Foley, Dowrick, Keryk
North Melbourne: Nil
Crowd: 1,912 at Arden Street Oval