The North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos travel across town to Carlton's Ikon Park on Sunday, as they look to make it two wins in two weeks and keep pace with those at the top of the ladder.

Here are four of the burning questions ahead of our Round 4 clash with the Blues.

Can North move within striking distance of the top of the ladder?

Having bookended their round two loss in Adelaide with two contrasting home wins, the Kangaroos occupy fifth spot on the AFLW ladder heading into Round 4.

Each of the top four - Adelaide, Fremantle, Melbourne and Collingwood - are unbeaten through three games, but this week’s match-ups present an opportunity for North to climb up the ladder.

The first-placed Crows take on the third-placed Demons on Saturday, while Fremantle and the Magpies open the round on Thursday night. No matter what happens, at least two teams above North will be dropping points. The Kangaroos just need to take advantage by defeating a plucky Carlton side on their home turf at 3.10pm AEDT on Sunday.

How will the Kangaroos shape up in defence?

The competition for spots in North’s defence is as fierce as it has ever been.

Though Tahlia Randall has moved forward, Dani Hardiman and Jess Duffin have maintained their quality performances in the back half from last season, while Aileen Gilroy was back to her ferocious best against the Giants in Round 3.

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Emma Kearney’s move into defence has proved a revelation so far this season, while Brooke Brown’s emergence as a bona-fide key defensive option is the culmination of a positional change that began in last year’s VFLW campaign.

If you add in Sarah Wright's possible availability after missing last week's game due to Covid, the ever-present Jas Ferguson's exceptional performances, and the potential of Nicole Bresnehan and Bella Eddey as defensively-minded wingers, Darren Crocker has the best kind of selection headache on his hands.

Can Ash Riddell maintain the rage?

Currently leading the race for the AFLCA Champion Player of the Year, midfield gun Ash Riddell has put together an immense first three weeks of the season.

A record-breaking 35-disposal performance against Geelong defined Round 1, while she was one of North’s best players in the Round 2 loss to Adelaide. Against the Giants, she was again an irresistible force in midfield with a game-high 23 touches.

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Riddell is thriving in the Kangaroos' current midfield, but with the likes of Madison Prespakis running through the middle of the ground for the Blues, she faces another challenge to maintain her high performance levels against strong opposition this week.

How will Carlton handle a four day break?

After Carlton’s Round 3 clash with the Western Bulldogs was rescheduled due to Covid protocols, they took on Brisbane in their second game of the season on Tuesday night.

The reigning premiers were too strong for the Blues, defeating them by 35 points. Strong performances from Courtney Jones (3 goals) and Prespakis (27 disposals) gave Carlton fans reason to smile, though.

Recovery will take precedence over anything else for Carlton this week, as they’re already missing a number of players due to Covid and injury concerns. Whether their key players will be at their best for the contest remains to be seen.


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