NORTH Melbourne has comprehensively humbled Richmond on Sunday afternoon, the premiership fancy defeating the fledgling expansion side by 56 points.
A second-quarter burst did most of the damage for the Roos, recording 13 inside-50s to just one and piling on five goals in the 12.4 (76) to 2.8 (20) win in hot conditions at Ikon Park.
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North Melbourne was just too strong in every major statistical category, outnumbering Richmond at stoppages, spreading to great effect and pressuring mistakes out of the inexperienced side with 19 tackles in its forward 50.
The Roos recorded 205 disposals to 141, and had 28 more marks than the Tigers.
Unheralded midfielder Ash Riddell had 17 touches to half-time (finishing with 21), Jasmine Garner's excellent start to the season continued (16 and one goal) while Tahlia Randall and Britt Gibson formed a brick wall in defence
It was the second-year team's biggest ever win, comfortably ahead of the 36-point victory over Carlton in round one last season.
The Tigers ran out to ABBA's "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" for the start of the second half, and the vocal Richmond contingent could be forgiven for rewriting the next line to "a goal after half-time" after the team went into the main break with just four behinds on the board.
But it was the Kangaroos who picked up where they left off in the third term, locking the ball inside 50 and Kaitlyn Ashmore kicking her third when an unpredictable bounce beat several players.
Sabrina Frederick broke through to kick Richmond's first goal in style, plucking the ball out of the ruck in a contest against Vivien Saad on the goal-line and booting it backwards over her head.
Katie Brennan (14 disposals, 1.2) followed just minutes later, capitalising on Richmond's sudden control over the football with a low sliding shot after dancing around an opponent, and the Tigers ended up equalising the third term.
But North only let the foot off the pedal somewhat, still booting an impressive five goals in the second half.
For the Tigers, hard-nosed midfielder Grace Campbell's impressive first season continued with 11 disposals, 10 tackles and a blood nose, while Monique Conti (18 and six) looked a class above out of the stoppages.
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Phoebe Monahan (12 and five marks) would like a little less work to do in defence, while Gabby Seymour had a few nice intercepting moments.
North defender Danielle Hardiman was a late withdrawal due to a calf complaint (replaced by former VFLW Tiger Beth Lynch), but coach Scott Gowans was confident she'll be fine to play Gold Coast next week.
How do you solve a problem like Katie Brennan?
It's a "rob Peter to pay Paul" situation for Richmond and captain Katie Brennan. One of the selling points for the former Bulldog to switch clubs was the lure of spending more time in the midfield, but she's proven to be much more dangerous as a forward. However, when moved forward in the second quarter, the marquee signing was stranded in attack, with the ball just not getting inside 50. She was back in the midfield in the second half, floating forward to boot the side's second goal. Coach Tom Hunter said from here on in she will be used in a mix of the two positions.
A vast gulf
Make no mistake, despite just one year of development separating the pair, there's a world of difference between North Melbourne and Richmond. Some of that is down to the list build; the Kangaroos were keen to win a flag as early as possible and recruited 15 players from other clubs. Under slightly different list build rules, Richmond brought eight on board. It's going to take some time for the Tigers, with ball handling skills under pressure the main area of improvement.
It was over when…
Simply put, North Melbourne booted five goals in nine minutes in a second-term onslaught. It doesn't get much more effective than that. The ambush was so heavy, records were quickly checked to see if the "largest AFLW win" was on track. Aside from Emma King, North Melbourne doesn't have key forwards in the traditional sense, and would have been pleased with the output of Ashmore, Emma Kearney (three each) and small forward Daisy Bateman (two).
A full sick bay at Punt Road
To make matters worse for the winless Tigers, the side has a full injury list of seven players, needing to name train-on players Hannah McLaren and Luka Lesosky-Hay as emergencies for the match against North Melbourne. Yet-to-debut pair Ciara Fitzgerald (ill) and Kate Dempsey (back) are chances for next week, while lively forward Tayla Stahl (hamstring) is one to two weeks away. Rebound defender Akec Makur Chuot copped a knock to her shoulder in the last few minutes of the North Melbourne loss.
"It took us until after half-time to get the game the way we wanted it. I think the third quarter showed glimpses of the type of game we can play and the side we're going to become … Tim Livingstone (general manager of football) sat in our box today and had a chat to him and 'Balmey' (Neil Balme), and he was reminding me of what it looked like in 2010 with 'Dimma' (Damien Hardwick's first year in charge of the AFL side). I think they had their first win in round nine or ten." – Richmond coach Tom Hunter
"The season being so short, you need to grab momentum and take it as long as you can. I think building from the last few weeks, I still feel like we have a step to go. No disrespect to Richmond, because they're a brand-new club and I know how hard that is, but I feel like we've still got a step to go with a few areas of our game, and when we get that, who knows? We might not get that, but it's something we've got to strive for." – North Melbourne coach Scott Gowans
Richmond will be hoping to record its first win when it takes on Geelong at home-away-from-home Bendigo, while North Melbourne hosts its very first game at Arden Street, playing a lively Gold Coast.
RICHMOND 0.3 0.4 2.5 2.8 (20)
NORTH MELBOURNE 2.0 7.2 9.3 12.4 (76)
Richmond: Frederick, Brennan
North Melbourne: Ashmore 3, Kearney 3, Green 2, Bateman 2, Garner, Gillespie-Jones
Richmond: Conti, Campbell, Brennan, Monahan, Jacques
North Melbourne: Riddell, Garner, Ashmore, Kearney, Randall
Richmond: Makur Chuot (TBC)
North Melbourne: Nil
North Melbourne: Danielle Hardiman (calf) replaced in selected side by Beth Lynch
Crowd: 3697 at Ikon Park