North Melbourne came from behind to avoid a major upset and beat the much improved Geelong by eight points in his AFLW opener.
The Cats kept the Kangaroos scoreless throughout the second term and into the third Saturday at Arden St, before North scored the game’s last three goals to win 4.2 (26) to 2.6 (18) .
Midfielder Ashleigh Riddell played for North with 35 eliminations and seven tackles.
It was a deadly match, with Geelong’s Chloe Scheer forced off the field in the third term with an accidental blow to the head.
The Kangaroos’ Kim Rennie also landed heavily and hit her head when she stole for a late game mark.
After a few minutes she was able to leave the pitch as Geelong captain Meg McDonald missed part of the final quarter with a leg problem.
In the first round last year, North beat Geelong by 62 points – it was the Cats’ biggest loss and their lowest score.
The Cats were a very different proposition on Saturday, bringing him north with relentless pressure.
Kangaroos captain Emma Kearney was forced to miss her first AFLW game after falling ill with COVID-19.
But teammate Jenna Bruton scored the game’s first goal at the end of the first term and North kept the Cats scoreless to maintain an eight-point lead in the quarter.
Geelong scored the only two behind in a murderous second term, their defense holding on under massive pressure.
Goals from Phoebe McWilliams and Julia Crockett-Grills in the third term gave the Cats an eight-point break and they smelled like blood.
But Daisy Bateman scored a crucial goal almost three-quarters of the time to ease Geelong’s challenge.
Mia King and Kaitlyn Ashmore, who was forced off the field earlier in the game with an ankle injury, then scored in the final quarter to seal the victory.
Amy McDonald impressed for the Cats and Georgie Prespakis, in her AFLW debut, was also among their best with 20 eliminations.