NORTH Melbourne has consolidated its spot in the AFLW's top-six with a gritty 11-point win against the fast-finishing Western Bulldogs.
The Kangaroos jumped out of the blocks with three unanswered first-quarter goals and that fast start proved enough as they held off the plucky Bulldogs 5.7 (37) to 3.8 (26) at North Hobart Oval.
KANGAROOS v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats
Both teams entered Saturday's match with a 4-2 record but North was able to go a game and percentage clear of the Dogs, who have a fight on their hands to qualify for the finals with two rounds to play.
Nathan Burke's team fought back from a 17-point quarter-time deficit but Kangaroos captain Emma Kearney slotted the only goal of the third term after the siren to give North Melbourne a vital 21-point lead.
The Bulldogs controlled much of the last quarter but were unable to put on enough scoring pressure.
Kearney and fellow Kangaroos star Jasmine Garner produced dominant displays to lift their side and deny the Bulldogs' late charge.
"It's been really pleasing we've been building every week, but we still haven't quite hit the nail on the head," Kearney told Fox Footy.
"We're still building and we quite haven't put a four-quarter performance together yet. The Bulldogs took it to us."
The Bulldogs struggled for scoring options outside of key forward Isabel Huntington (two goals) and Bonnie Toogood.
Speedster Kirsten McLeod was taken off late in the game with a head knock after being involved in a collision while trying to score the Bulldogs' fourth goal.
But Bulldogs coach Burke said McLeod seemed fine after the game and was hopeful she had avoided a concussion.
Burke was left to lament a number of lapses which inevitably cost his team the game but was ultimately pleased with the overall effort.
"They kicked four goals from our lapses, and against good teams, you can't afford to do that because they'll hurt you on the scoreboard," he told AAP.
"(Sprays) are usually few and far between with the girls. I normally reserve that for lack of effort, but this week (at quarter-time) there was a bit more of a rev-up.
"If they're better than us physically and skill-wise, then I can cop that, but when you are your own worst enemy that hurts."
NORTH MELBOURNE 3.0 4.2 5.7 5.7 (37)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.1 2.3 2.4 3.8 (26)
North Melbourne: Kearney 2, Bateman, King, Riddell
Western Bulldogs: Huntington 2, Toogood
North Melbourne: Garner, Kearney, Riddell, Duffin, Gavalas, E. King
Western Bulldogs: Lamb, Blackburn, Huntington, Toogood, Newton
North Melbourne: Nil
Western Bulldogs: McLeod (head knock)
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