Finals destiny in the Roos' own hands

NORTH Melbourne's finals destiny is in its own hands.

Beat Fremantle, and the Kangaroos will still have a game next week. Lose, and it'll come down to a nervous wait to see if Carlton can thump Greater Western Sydney by enough to leapfrog into the six.

"Obviously it's been up and down, getting wins and then not forgetting the loss on the weekend (against Brisbane), so it has been tough, but we just have to keep working hard," North Melbourne Irishwoman Aileen Gilroy told womens.afl.

"We're not out of it yet, so that's the message, that we're still in it.

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"It's up to us then on Saturday to try and get the win. We're just going to put our best foot forward and see what Saturday brings."

North Melbourne suffocated under the intense Brisbane pressure last week, losing by only 15 points, but conceding 15 scoring shots to an inaccurate Lions side and blowing an opportunity to lock up a finals spot.

"What I felt on the day was just the pressure, even their turnover ball was so fast from their defensive 50 to the forward 50. To try and stop that was really hard and, obviously, the humidity up there was a little bit different for us, even just to myself it was so high. In the warm up like, I was just sweating, and I was not used to that.

"Brisbane are an excellent team. They have done really well, and they've only lost one game this season, so they're absolutely flying. They're just really, really good and obviously they bring high pressure."

Aileen Gilroy (c) enjoys North Melbourne's round two victory. Picture: AFL Photos

Rebounding defender Gilroy joined the Roos last season, meaning this year marked the first time she had played with All-Australian back Jess Duffin, who had missed 2020 with pregnancy.

"When I came over last year, I didn't know the history of the girls. 'Duff' was pregnant, and it was really exciting news, but everyone was raving on about how good she was and the experience she has," Gilroy said.

"To have her on the pitch has been amazing. She brings so much control and experience that a lot of the younger girls, or even myself – this is my second season – it's great.

"Even in team meetings, her knowledge of the game is excellent as well. I'm still learning the game, so if I ever have any questions or anything like that, 'Duff' will tell me straight away and breaks it down for me, so to have her back in has been absolutely amazing."

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Gilroy, a multi-talented athlete who plays Gaelic football with County Mayo and has also represented her country in soccer, has taken another step forward on her debut AFLW season, where she finished fifth in the club's best and fairest.

The 28-year-old is leading the club in rebound 50s and metres gained and is fifth for inside-50s despite playing off half-back.

She returned to Ireland during the off-season and roped in her two younger brothers and her boyfriend into practicing her skills.

"When I got back home, I focused on learning how to get the kick in, because I think last year I really struggled on hitting a target or a moving target. When the girls were like leading out, I wasn't probably hitting them as much as I'd like to.

"Marking is obviously such a big part of the game over here, so I've been trying to work on my marking, but obviously it's a lot harder over here when you have two or three girls ready to jump on you.

"I was really enjoying it at home, like even just showing people how to kick the ball or even to mark the ball and explain some of the rules."