Bouncing back: Kangas break clear of Blues

NORTH Melbourne has rebounded from two straight losses, overpowering Carlton in the second half to win by 22 points.

The Blues led by four points at half-time, but the Roos kicked five goals in the final term in the 9.5 (59) to 6.1 (37) win at UTAS Stadium on Saturday night.

ROOS v BLUES Full match coverage and stats

It means Carlton is in a fight to qualify for finals, slipping to two wins and three losses with four rounds remaining.

AFLW Match Highlights: North Melbourne v Carlton

04:32 Feb 27. 2021. 9:36 PM

The Kangaroos and Blues clash in round five of the NAB AFL Women's competition

With the AFLW best and fairest winner Maddy Prespakis cooling her heels on the sidelines due to a one-match suspension, Jess Hosking spent more time on the ball and was industrious with 14 touches, while Nic Stevens (19) was outstanding at half-forward.

But North's weight of numbers in the middle proved to be too much, with Garner (32, nine clearances), Kearney (28, five clearances) and Riddell (23, nine tackles) powering the home side.

Both sides have not been at their best this year, and the game oscillated between brilliantly clean passages of play and sloppy, pressured turnovers.

North Melbourne came out firing, keen to atone for last week's disappointing loss to Collingwood, with Kate Gillespie-Jones and Garner booting goals after some quick movement out of the middle courtesy of Riddell and Emma King.

North Melbourne off to the perfect start with two quick snaps

00:31 Feb 27. 2021. 7:26 PM

Brilliant teamwork brings two Roo majors

Darcy Vescio's hot form continued with a purple patch in the second term, kicking an opportunistic snap, converting a set shot and setting up Lauren Brazzale with a clever kick after spotting the winger out of the corner of her eye.

Brazzale strikes with ease

00:26 Feb 27. 2021. 8:00 PM

Lauren Brazzale runs into open space and kicks Carlton's second

It gave the Blues a slender lead, but after numerous missed and rushed opportunities in front of goal by North, the diminutive Daisy Bateman surprised herself by converting a set-shot from 35m.

Mimi Hill – taken with pick No.10 in last year's NAB AFLW Draft – made things interesting in the last term with her first two AFLW goals, but North Melbourne broke the dam walls of Carlton's previously resolute defence, piling on five straight goals.

Abbatangelo's brilliant banana in dominant North quarter

00:38 Feb 27. 2021. 9:13 PM

Sophie Abbatangelo shows off her skills and kicks her second major of the night from the boundary line

The finals picture
With Melbourne yet to play in round five, the Roos have leapt into sixth spot on the ladder, with the 2021 season seeing the top six qualifying for finals. There are four rounds remaining, and Carlton, one of the pre-season premiership fancies, is anchored in eighth spot. It's not all doom and gloom, with the Blues just one win adrift, but it makes things a lot harder from here, especially being 35 per cent below the Dees in seventh. 

Duffin's welcome return
North Melbourne welcomed back All-Australian defender Jess Duffin following a break of 714 days due to the birth of her daughter Georgie in late June. She played in bursts but looked to have lost none of her touch as she slotted back into defence. Duffin took a goal-saving mark in the first term and was clever with deft touches around the ground. She'll be better for the run, but it was a more-than-handy inclusion for Darren Crocker.

Kangaroos star Jess Duffin at the club's 2021 photo shoot. Picture: Dylan Burns, AFL Photos

Carlton's first-quarter blues
You'd be forgiven for skipping Carlton's opening terms this year if you were a Blues supporter. The team have been a notoriously slow starter, kicking a cumulative 1.2 from five opening stanzas. The Blues had 11 inside 50s in the first quarter against the Roos but were scoreless, struggling to find a clean mark within scoring range. Nic Stevens was in everything but Tayla Harris was well held and Darcy Vescio only came to life after the first break.

Say what?
"We reviewed (ball movement) pretty strongly earlier in the week, and we just thought we didn't use the ball well or efficiently last week, and felt we played too rushed. Tonight, I just thought throughout the game, our ability to control the tempo of the game was really good. There were times when we could go quick, but there were also a lot of times when we got a mark or a free kick and the girls just controlled the tempo." - North Melbourne coach Darren Crocker

"We were monstered in the midfield. We've got a young developing midfield against one of the best and most experienced in the business and they had their way with us, particularly after half-time. We just weren't able to set up properly; we were a bit 'deer in the headlights' a couple of times and they did what they wanted, particularly through the front of the contest, which was annoying." - Carlton coach Daniel Harford

Carlton coach Daniel Harford speaks to his players during the loss to North Melbourne in round five, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

Up next
North Melbourne will be wary of Richmond's momentum after the Tigers' first win, but should have the firepower to get the job done on Friday night at the Swinburne Centre. Carlton will be hoping to bank four points, hosting the winless Cats at Ikon Park on Sunday.

NORTH MELBOURNE     2.1     2.2     4.5     9.5 (59)
CARLTON     0.0     3.0     3.0     6.1 (37)

GOALS
North Melbourne: 
Abbatangelo 2, Bateman 2, Gillespie-Jones, Garner, Bannister, Campbell, M. King
Carlton: Vescio 2, Hill 2, Brazzale, Stevens

BEST
North Melbourne:
 Garner, Kearney, Riddell, Bruton, Randall, Abbatangelo
Carlton: Stevens, J. Hosking, Laloifi, Pound, Vescio, Hill

INJURIES
North Melbourne: 
Nil 
Carlton: Nil

Reports: Nil

Crowd: 820 at UTAS Stadium

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