North Melbourne has kept their season alive in one of the most bizarre finals in AFLW history, as the match-winning goal came 20 seconds out from quarter time.
The Cats absolutely peppered the Roos defence but neither side scored a goal for three quarters and North held on for the thrilling 2.4 (16) to 1.8 (14) win.
The astonishing goalless run left commentators stunned as Geelong certainly had opportunities to hit the scoreboard, with 40 inside 50s to just 18.
Furphy has made the commitment to provide equal support to its AFL and AFLW teams. Don’t support the AFLW? Unbelievable.
But their season is now over with the two-point loss as North Melbourne move on to face Richmond in a semi final next weekend.
“We were actually really lucky to hang onto that one,” Roos star Emma Kearney said post-match.
The Roos came out firing in the elimination final as Sophie Abbatangelo made the most of some Emma King brilliance.
King was able to get boot to ball to get it to Abbatangelo who snapped truly just minutes into the contest.
“How did they conjure that?” commentator Alister Nicholson said.
Abbatangelo could have had a second goal moments later after Tahlia Randall pulled in a big grab, as Geelong couldn’t get their hands on the footy.
The Cats ramped up the pressure but couldn’t find an avenue to goal as the Roos defence, bolstered by the return of Emma Kearney, was able to stream out of the backline.
It took teenager Darcy Moloney to get Geelong on the board after she bravely kept her eyes on the footy as she backed into oncoming traffic.
“Finished off with a calmness belying her years,” Nicholson praised.
“That’s a great moment for her and an important moment for the Cats.”
Alice O’Loughlin provided a spark for the Roos just seconds out from quarter time to give her side a four-point lead at the first change.
And that goal would end up the match winner in “staggering” scenes.
Neither side was able to find a goal for the rest of the match as it was end-to-end footy in the second term.
A timely Randall tackle ensured Jacqueline Parry couldn’t connect with her shot on goal as the Roos defence continued to stand tall.
By half time, it was North holding a four-point advantage.
Kate Darby drew a holding free kick seconds into the third term, but couldn’t convert on the angle to give the Cats the lead.
Frustration started to creep in for Geelong after repeat inside 50s counted for naught.
“They are really pressing here,” commentator Mel Hickey said.
“(But) they look to be rushing that last kick inside 50. They need some method to it.”
The Cats had 10 inside 50s to 0 in the third term, with only a single behind to show for it after almost 10 minutes.
“This Roos defence is under siege at the moment … but they’re holding up so well,” Hickey praised.
“No doubt there’d be some frustrated forwards wanting them to get it in deeper and longer to them.”
It took almost 12 minutes for North Melbourne to register their first inside 50 since half time, but they still held a three-point lead.
By the final change, neither side could find a goal for the second straight quarter.
Remarkably, Geelong had 35 of the 42 inside 50s and still trailed by four points in a “staggering statistic”.
“It can go one of two ways – that pressure value keeps going up and you start to get frustrated … or conversely, the dam wall breaks and it starts to click,” Hickey said.
“It’s almost like these goals have a force field in front of them!” Nicholson added.
The Cats continued to pepper the Roos defence, but once again North Melbourne’s backline stood solid.
Shelley Scott had the chance to steal the victory with just 90 second remaining but couldn’t get it done.
She had another chance from a near identical position but opted to hit the top of the square as again the Roos conceded a point.
When Chloe Scheer’s frustration boiled over with 40 seconds to go and the 50m penalty was paid, the match was all over.
ROOS BOOSTED BY RETURNS
Rennie returns after missing the final round due to health and safety protocols while Kearney is pushing through the knee soreness that saw her miss the draw with Richmond – which cost the club a double chance in the finals.
“Kearns is right, she’s raring to go. She got over her knee soreness,” coach Darren Crocker says.
“It’s pretty relaxed (the team). I thought our session on Wednesday night was a really good session.
“The players came in and they were up and about. The energy levels, they turned up and they brought the energy.”
AFLW finals series ready to go | 01:30
Crocker said the fact his side had the toughest draw this season – as the only club to have faced all seven finalists – would hold the club in “really good stead”.
“We’re really equipped for finals footy,” he said.
“Around the contest is going to be really important who can get the ascendancy there.
“We need to limit (Geelong’s) supply … and put some scoreboard pressure on.”
The elimination final between Geelong and North Melbourne begins at 7.10pm AEDT at GMHBA Stadium.
Demons beat Crows to book Prelim spot | 02:09
Follow the match live in the blog below