AFLW 2021: North Melbourne hands out a lesson as Geelong crashes in Round 1

After so much had changed in the last 10 months, virtually nothing had for the Cats.

In March last year, Geelong hosted North Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium and while the young Cats were spirited, they were clearly outclassed.

In the last two quarters of that match, they didn’t score.

In the first two quarters on Sunday, in the same place, against the same opposition the Cats didn’t put a score on the board.

Again, the endeavour wasn’t to blame but up against an opposition that is expected to contend for the AFLW title, Geelong just didn’t have the skill or experience to keep up.

A first-quarter blitz from ruck Emma King put the wheels for the 62-point belting in motion, with the Roo dominant in stoppages early.

Emma King was dominant early. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

She had nine hitouts herself – six more than Geelong’s total at quarter-time – and floated forward to kick three goals in a commanding display.

While her dominance faded – King would finish with 10 touches and 30 hitouts – whatever slack remained was comfortably picked up by the likes of skipper Emma Kearney, Kaitlyn Ashmore and Ash Riddell.

Geelong’s forward line was taught a lesson, with the attack limp and regularly outnumbered.

Given the pressure the Cats were under, regular rushed kicks landed with those in vertical stripes instead of vice versa.

A score finally came at the three-minute mark of the final term, when Olivia Purcell ran into goal but missed to the right.

To highlight the difference between the two sides, Denby Taylor capitalised on a rare mistake and run the ball to 30m out in the final term only to miss narrowly.

Within a minute, Ashmore was on the end of a turnover of her own for North Melbourne and kicked truly from further out on a tougher angle.

Aasta O’Connor would finally boot Geelong’s first goal of the match with a set shot from 40m with just two minutes to play in the match.

The game wasn’t devoid of bright spots for Geelong.

Amy McDonald was busy and graceful in traffic, while Meg McDonald worked hard across half-back.

Georgie Rankin tries to get a kick away. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Millie Brown continues to show signs that she will be one of the best defenders in the competition in the near future.

And All-Australian Purcell worked hard to leave her mark on the game – particularly when sent forward in the final term – even if she was outmuscled by the depth in the Roos midfield brigade.

This was a game between the team that knows what it takes to win and one that is just learning.

In years to come, Geelong will hope it can point to this match as one where its young side learned some vital lessons.

North Melbourne may be a contender this season and the Roos are at a level the Cats want to reach in years to come.

Originally published asCats flounder in AFLW shellacking

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