The North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos have triumphed in their first hitout of the pre-season, with an 11-point victory over Collingwood at the AIA Centre.

With a strong breeze at their backs as they kicked to the Yarra River end, the first term was mostly played in the Magpies' front half.

Jasmine Ferguson was locked into a close-checking role on Imogen Barnett, while Brooke Brown was able to frustrate Sabrina Frederick and generate rebound.

The pairing limited the potential damage the Pies' early running threatened to inflict, but Barnett was able to get separation late in the term and kick her team into the lead.

After quarter-time, the match tilted in the Kangaroos' favour.

Darren Crocker's team emphasised forward passing, took more territory with every possession, and closed down Collingwood's distribution from defence.

Jasmine Garner swooped on a spilled ball and snapped truly, and a smooth crumbing effort from Ellie Gavalas at a forward-50 stoppage gave the Roos a seven-point lead at half-time.

Even against the wind, the Kangaroos set the tone in the third term.

Garner added another, and Chloe Molloy kept her team in touch with a snap from the left forward pocket.

Sophia McCarthy, Grace Matser and Kim Rennie worked to get the ball to the ground, where Gavalas, Charli Granville and Mia King were clean and applied pressure.

Late in the match King ran down a Magpies defender, the ball spilled to Ash Riddell and the Roos' reigning best-and-fairest winner sealed the result.

The final score read 2.6 (18) to 4.5 (29) in the Kangaroos' favour.

Crocker was thrilled with his team's control over the contest.

"We didn't get as much reward for the dominance we did have in our front half, especially when we were kicking with the breeze," the coach told North Media after the match.

"But that will come. I think that's one of the hardest things in football, working on that connection between your backs to your mids, your mids to your forwards.

"We'll continue to work on that connection, going inside forward 50, but I thought some of the players looked really dangerous."


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Crocker served as a runner throughout the match, and could be heard communicating tactical instructions to his players.

Over the pre-season his group has often alluded to a changed philosophy, as they push for the club's first AFL Women's premiership.

"(It's) just a little tweak to what we've done in the past," he smiled.

"It's a really shortened pre-season, we've only had eight weeks to practice those tweaks and change up a couple of concepts.

"As a coach you always come into a practice game hoping that you see some of those tweaks and concepts come to fruition.

"The pleasing thing about tonight was I thought they were definitely evident in parts of the way we played."

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All the way from the village of Macroom in Ireland, former Gaelic footballer Erika O'Shea looms as an instant sensation for North Melbourne.

The 19-year-old was tireless on Wednesday night as she danced to evade opponents, hit targets by hand and took territory by foot.

"We've seen glimpses of it at training," Crocker explained.

"Erika has great athleticism, a great combination of speed and endurance, and she's actually quite good overhead.

"I thought she saved us on a number of occasions, just being able to get a tackle or a hand in, just because of the way she can cover the ground.

"It was a very, very strong first-up performance, playing a totally different sport."

O'Shea was one of six players to feature for the first time on Wednesday night.

McCarthy lined up at full-forward, Matser took forward-50 ruck contests, and Zoe Savarirayan laid four tackles in her first match since she swapped the round ball for the Sherrin.

"It's always a steep learning curve for all the young players," Crocker reflected.

"I just chatted to most of them and (they were saying) 'it's so much faster than I've played before, it's so much more physical.'

"They'll adjust with more exposure."

McCarthy faced perhaps the night's toughest assignment on Collingwood defender Stacey Livingstone, an authoritative vocal and physical presence.

"The pleasing thing was she didn’t get outmarked," Crocker recalled.

"Livingstone has been a really good player for a long period of time, and a good interceptor, and Soph just made herself hard to play on.

"She got to good spots, brought the ball to ground and gave our ground level players an opportunity to lock the ball in our forward 50."

On the opposite wing to O'Shea, Taylah Gatt flashed glimpses of her acceleration and sidestep, but Crocker was most impressed by her relentless running.

"Taylah's ability to get up and back was really evident," he enthused.

"Just speaking to her, she said she was so terribly nervous before the game and early in the game, but that’s great.

"She had high expectations on herself to do well, and I thought she acquitted herself really well."

The Roos will next face Adelaide in an official practice match at Norwood Oval, from 10.30am AEST on Saturday, August 13.


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