North Melbourne players celebrate winning an elimination final against Melbourne on November 12, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

ESSENDON co-captain Bonnie Toogood has backed North Melbourne to go all the way after the club’s emphatic “monkey off the back” qualifying final win.

The Kangaroos carried a concerning win-loss record against fellow top-four teams coming into finals, with an all-time 2-14 ledger against Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane casting doubt over their premiership credentials.

But the Roos on Sunday made a huge statement, conquering the Demons in a crash-and-bash belting in which they laid a staggering 104 tackles – the equal-second most in league history.


The 41-point victory earned North a home preliminary final, and rights to a home Grand Final should they win.

Toogood told The W Show the Kangaroos were now in prime position for a maiden premiership. 

“This win was definitely a monkey off the back,” Toogood said. 

“How they attacked this game and the pressure they brought to Melbourne’s midfield was impressive and really smart coaching, and then amazing by the players to then implement.

“I honestly think they could go all the way.”


AFLW reporter Sarah Black saw the win as a “breakthrough” and expects North to now carry the momentum forward.

Following the Roos' Melbourne mauling on Sunday, club captain Emma Kearney said her side finally found belief, conceding team psyche was flailing in previous match-ups against top sides.

"So much of sport is between the ears and at times, whether we said it or not, the battle of that mental side of things got us," she said.

"We've slowly plugged away through the season and grown our belief."

North will play the winner of the Adelaide-Sydney semi-final in a home prelim.