How Arden St history, and a retired Roo, inspired W Kangas

NORTH Melbourne coach Darren Crocker turned to a former teammate to motivate his players about the significance of carrying the history baton at Arden Street Oval last week.

Crocker's Roos broke down the Saints in the final term, winning by 26 points to maintain their unbeaten start to the NAB AFL Women's season.

And with the assistance of 155-game Roo Donald McDonald, the return to Arden Street dominated the theme midweek.

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"Crock showed us a video of him talking to Donald McDonald and he was obviously a North great," midfielder Ash Riddell told womens.afl.

Donald McDonald lines up for goal back in 1991. Picture: AFL Photos

"He spoke about the importance of playing on Arden Street and we wanted to carry that into the game.

"He played it to us on Thursday night and I think all of the girls appreciated it, especially the young ones coming through who might not necessarily know the importance of playing on Arden Street yet.

"We love playing on our home deck and it's great to get the opportunity to do it now in AFLW."

North Melbourne's only other AFLW game at Arden Street came with a win over Gold Coast last season with the Roos scheduled to split home matches at their spiritual base as well as Hobart this year.

The final senior VFL game at the ground – one McDonald and Crocker both played – came in 1985, and while still used as the club's elite training facility, has hosted second-tier VFL games in recent years.

Riddell was instrumental in the Roos kicking clear against the Saints, collecting seven disposals and a goal in the fourth term after Crocker implored his side's leaders to take ownership. 

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"I started off a little bit slow, it was really good in the second half to get a bit more involved and nice to finish that last quarter getting a bit more of the ball and trying to create some opportunities for my teammates," Riddell said.

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North Melbourne's Ashleigh Riddell bursts away at speed and ices the game for the Roos

"As leaders we've got a responsibility to make sure we're leading by example. Crock definitely made that known and I think we did lead by example towards the end of the game."

The 24-year-old was the newest addition to the Roos' leadership group this year alongside captain Emma Kearney, Emma King and Jasmine Garner.

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