“I’m just shattered at the moment - it doesn’t feel real.”

Kaitlyn Ashmore is visibly upset as she talks to North Media following a last-gasp finals' loss to Collingwood. 

“To be honest, I don’t really know how to feel. I wasn’t ready for the season to end,” she said. 

“We had the team to win it all this year, so it’s obviously disappointing, but we are all as hungry as ever.”

Having fought their way back into the game in the third quarter, it was a bitter pill to swallow for the Roos.

North led by 14 points at the final change, but ultimately fell short. 

Reflecting on the season, Ashmore highlighted the outstanding performance of the team's back six. 

“Our backline has been the highlight of the season. I know our midfield get a lot of acknowledgement, but our backline is very underrated,” she said. 

“Dani Hardiman as our full back, Tahlia Randall with her spoils, and Aileen Gilroy have all been amazing for us.”

On a personal note, Ashmore had arguably her best season to date, increasing her average from 7.7 disposals in 2020, to 13.7 in 2021.

“I played a lot more on the wing this year. I did a lot of work during lockdown last year. I was able to keep my running consistent alongside my dad in Ballarat,” she said.

“I did improve my form from last year, so on a personal level, I’m happy with what I could contribute to the team.”

Following his first season as the AFLW Head Coach, Darren Crocker has made a bright impression on Ashmore and her teammates. 

“’Crock’ is a great man,” Ashmore said. 

 “He brings a lot of Shinboner Spirit ... he is able to relate to us as he's been in the same position as us during his career.

“The way he contributes at training just shows how much he cares about us individually and collectively. He is very important to our side.”

Ashmore sent a message to the Roos' loyal fans, urging them to stay on board for another exciting campaign in 2022. 

“I love our fans. The North Cheer Squad are especially very passionate. I do feel as though we let them down – especially with our last quarter yesterday,” she added. 

“I hope that they stick around, because we play for them as well as each other.

“We look forward to taking it a step further next year.”