The 2023 AFLW home and away season is already five rounds in, making now the perfect time for quick retrospective on the first half of the year.

With a trip over to Western Australia on the horizon for Round 6, NMFC Media jumps in to have a look at who’s been starring and sharpshooting, which players are raising their stocks, the new Roos that have made Arden Street home, and the road that lies ahead.


Leading the charge

Jasmine Garner

Garner meant business right from the season's opening bounce, winning the initial centre clearance against the Saints before kicking a ripper from a few metres inside the 50m arc.

The gun midfielder registered maximum AFLCA AFLW Champion Player of the Year Award votes from each of the first three matches and sits atop the leaderboard with a total 43.

The League-leader in disposals (152) and clearances (43), and equal-leader for inside 50s (40), Garner has been as central to North Melbourne's success as ever in 2023.

Stats: 30.4 disposals, 8.6 clearances, 8 inside 50s, 546.8 metres gained, 7.6 tackles, 4.4 intercepts, 1 goal per game


Ash Riddell

Right by the side of the No.25 has been Riddell, who continues to be one of the star ball-winners - and stars in general - of the competition.

The 27-year-old sits second in total disposals (150) across the AFLW and is fresh off a best-on-ground performance against GWS in Round 5 where she garnered 32 disposals and a game-high 12 clearances in howling winds at Arden Street Oval.

Having dropped below 29 possessions on just one occasion this year, it's rapidly becoming another campaign to behold for North Melbourne's No.7.

Stats: 30 disposals, 6.2 clearances, 5.6 tackles, 4.2 inside 50s per game


Jasmine Ferguson

It's been an impressive five-week period for North Melbourne's key lockdown defender, who has gone from unsung hero to one of the best backs in the League.

Ferguson began 2023 by holding 2022 Season 7's leading goalicker - Jesse Wardlaw – goalless in Round 1, before keeping Geelong's Chloe Scheer - who entered Round 3 coming off a five-goal haul – to just one behind from three touches.

The defender herself has earned plenty of recognition from the coaches as well, with 11 AFLCA AFLW Champion Player of the Year Award votes from five games.

With Nicole Bresnehan expected to miss at least the rest of the home and away season, expect Ferguson to shoulder more responsibilities behind the ball in the absence of her co-vice captain.

Stats: 7 disposals, 4.4 intercepts, 3 marks per game

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 15: Chloe Scheer of the Cats is tackled by Jasmine Ferguson of the Kangaroos during the 2023 AFLW Round 03 match between the Geelong Cats and the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos at GMHBA Stadium on September 15, 2023 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Josh Chadwick/AFL Photos)


Taylah Gatt

Gatt began her second season at the level in electric fashion, recording a career-high in disposals (17) against the Saints down in Hobart, before topping it by one two weeks later in Geelong against the Cats.

While speed is a key component of her game, the No.8’s growing ability to both win the ball when it's in dispute and apply pressure on the defensive end has been on display during every game this year.

And what is a testament to her work ethic, the winger is yet to miss a match since debuting in Round 1 last season.

2022 S7 stats: 6.3 disposals, 79.8 metres gained, 1.8 tackles, 1.6 intercepts, 0.5 clearances, 0.4 marks per game

2023 stats: 12.2 disposals, 176.4 metres gained, 3.4 tackles, 2.6 intercepts, 2 clearances, 1.4 marks per game

Mia King

Another crucial cog in North Melbourne's dynamic midfield is Mia King who is enjoying a career-best campaign.

The young onballer set a club record for pressure points* in one game with 86.8 against the Blues in Round 2, before reaching 83.8 (equal second) in Round 3 against Geelong.

She played a pivotal role in that win over the Cats, notching a career-high in tackles (14) and an equal career-high in disposals (25).

2022 S7 stats: 14.6 disposals, 8.2 contested possessions, 5.1 tackles, 3.2 clearances per game

2023 stats: 18.8 disposals, 10.4 contested possessions, 10.2 tackles, 5.8 clearances per game

*Pressure Points: Weighed sum of pressure acts. Physical pressure acts are worth 3.75 points, closing acts are worth 2.25 points, chasing acts are 1.5 points and corralling are 1.2.


Lively key forward Tahlia Randall leads the club's goalkicking tally after five matches.

Using her physicality and deceptive burst of pace, Randall has managed to boot 7.6 so far in 2023 but has been unselfish inside 50 as well recording an equal team-high three goal assists.


An accurate Emma King sits one major behind on 6.1 and has made her presence felt not just in attack but all over the ground with 12 contested marks.

Garner and Bella Eddey are averaging a goal per game and sit with Randall on three goal assists each, while Kate Shierlaw has kicked five majors from four appearances.


New Shinboners

The Kangas blooded four club debutants for the opening round against St Kilda, with Shierlaw, Ruby Tripodi, Lulu Pullar, and Eliza Shannon all pulling on the royal blue and white for the first time.

The day doubled as a League debut for Tripodi, who hit the scoreboard with a well-taken set shot to join the first-game, first-goal club down in Hobart.


She's worked her way into being a mainstay of the Kangaroos' line-up and hasn’t needed a whole lot of possessions to have an impact around the big sticks.

Shannon and Pullar have quickly proven to be handy additions through defence and the wings respectively. The former has recorded five-plus intercepts on two occasions this season, while Pullar will head into Round 6 after slotting her first AFLW goal and collecting a career-high in disposals (19) against the Giants.


Shierlaw has added a different layer to the club's attacking unit, and will hope to continue having an impact on the scoreboard alongside Randall and Emma King in the back-half of the year.

Ailish Considine became Shinboner No.57 after some late drama before the bounce in Round 3 at GMHBA Stadium and tallied three disposals in her first appearance as a Roo.

The Irishwoman has featured just the once since arriving at Arden Street but will look to work her way back into the side as the push for finals ramps up.


The other Kangaroos who could make their first appearances for the club later in the season are, in number order, Liz McGrath, Cassidy Mailer, Niamh Martin, and Lucy Burke.


Ruck Kim Rennie achieved the 50-game milestone after running out onto UTAS Stadium in Round 4, while Garner, Randall, and Emma Kearney have all brought up 50 games for North Melbourne.

Having missed Round 3 as a late withdraw, Shierlaw will look to reach 50 AFLW games in Round 7 against the Power, as will Riddell who will also reach 50 club games simultaneously.

After notching 50 League appearances in Round 8 last season, Jenna Bruton is set to bring up 50 games as a Roo this weekend in Fremantle.


The road ahead

Following a 30-point win over the Giants at Arden Street, the Roos head to Fremantle Oval to challenge the Dockers in Round 6, before returning home to host the Power for Indigenous Round.

Blockbusters against Melbourne and Adelaide arrive in Rounds 8 and 9 respectively, which are clashes that have the potential to heavily influence the ladder’s top four.

The final game of the home and away season will see North Melbourne take the short trip to VU Whitten Oval to face the Bulldogs in Pride Round.


Watch the Kangaroos take on the Lions in the 2023 NAB AFLW Grand Final!