The Roo that has bounced across every line with ease

WITH this year's move to the midfield, North Melbourne's Jasmine Garner has played across every line in her three-and-a-half NAB AFLW seasons. 

She was an All-Australian forward in 2019 and also spent some time in defence at former club Collingwood the previous year. 

But the midfield is working for Garner. She's averaging 18 disposals and six inside 50s this season and has amassed 17 of a possible 30 AFLCA votes. 

In-form Roo snaps out of the pack

00:31 Feb 23. 2020. 3:40 PM

North Melbourne's Jasmine Garner snaps beautifully straight out of the ruck

So, just where is the Roo's best position? 

"It's a good question, I feel older but I'm only 25, so I think I'm still young," Garner told womens.afl

"I guess the answer is wherever I fit for the team, but at the moment, running through the mid is working and I'm happy to play there. As long as I'm getting a game, I'm happy." 

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Garner is more than just "getting a game". She's leading the competition for average inside 50s, is third for long kicks and fourth for effective kicks. 

She's been enjoying her time in one of the deepest onball brigades in the AFLW, which has seamlessly covered for Jamie Stanton (now sitting second in the AFLCA player of the year votes after moving home to Gold Coast). 

Jazzy Garner dazzles for her second goal

00:26 Feb 15. 2020. 3:52 PM

Jasmine Garner shows some poise and class with a right-foot snap to put the Roos back in front

"In the VFLW last year, Scotty (Gowans) said he wanted to chuck me through the mid to see how I'd go. It's something I was keen to try, to add another string to my bow," Garner said. 

"I'm pretty lucky to be playing with some pretty good midfielders, (Emma) Kearney, Jenna (Bruton) and Ash Riddell. 

"They're all class players. When you have such a good spread of good midfielders, all you have to do is play your role each week. We all know if we play our roles, we can spread the workload evenly, we don't have to rely on anyone." 

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Garner spoke about how she now "instinctively" tries to hit the scoreboard at forward stoppages, with her improved fitness allowing her to move up and down the ground with ease. 

Before her AFLW drafting in 2016 (Collingwood selected her with pick No.86), she had barely stepped foot in a gym, relying on pure talent to get her through matches with St Kilda Sharks in the former VWFL. 

Magpies coach at the time, Wayne Siekman, told womens.afl the club had a steal on its hands. Garner went on that year to record a place in history, kicking the AFLW's first goal.

AFLW: Garner creates history with first goal

Feb 3. 2017. 8:01 PM

Collingwood's Jasmine Garner becomes the first goal kicker of the AFLW

"She has the best pair of hands in the competition and she's an accurate kick. But the one thing that was letting her down was her fitness, which is what the other clubs wouldn't take a risk on," Siekman said at the start of 2017.

"We did, and she's done everything she needed to and has improved out of sight. Hopefully, we see the fruits of that – she's potentially a top-10 player – and I reckon a lot of clubs will see that and be a little bit disappointed they let her go."

It's now a very different Garner that takes to the field for North Melbourne, having joined the club for its first AFLW season in 2019. 

"Personally, my body's changed a lot. I've got a lot fitter and stronger, but the game itself, the standard has definitely gone up and it moves a lot quicker," she said.

"Now I actually enjoy going to the gym and working out, because it comes a bit more natural to you once you start doing it and get comfortable within yourself. 

"I've probably got a long way to go as well, I think I can still take it a bit further with my fitness and my running, whether that's midfield or high forward. I'm definitely enjoying my footy at the moment." 

 North Melbourne will be taking on Gold Coast and Stanton on Saturday, hosting a team at training base Arden Street for the very first time in the AFLW competition (the ground was being redeveloped last year). 

"We're excited to be finally playing at Arden Street. We've trained there since the start and to be able to finally play on it, we're really excited," Garner said. 

"We should hopefully get a good crowd out there. I'm not sure where everyone's going to fit, but it should be a good game."

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