Adelaide's 2023 AFLW campaign came to a heartbreaking end after going down to North Melbourne by one point in its Preliminary Final at IKON Park on Sunday.

It was a see-sawing affair, with an outrageous screamer and goal by Anne Hatchard cutting the margin to one point with about 2.54 minutes left on the clock, but the Roos held on for dear life in the 4.8 (32) to 4.7 (31) triumph.

Three-time Premiership Crow Anne Hatchard took a huge mark in the goal square in the dying stages, snapping a goal to bring her side within a point, but North Melbourne held on for the thrilling win.

North Melbourne took a three-point lead into the final break and attacked the goals for the first 10 minutes of the last quarter, kicking four straight behinds, to the agony of their raucous fans.

Roos fans had seen this film before, and they didn't like the previous viewing's ending.

But this version of North women is made of sterner stuff, locking the ball up forward for the final few minutes – Emma King even launching a torp from 50m after a vicious tackle on Sarah Allan.

North Melbourne had the better of the opening term, two of its three tall forwards in Tahlia Randall and Kate Shierlaw kicking truly after the ball spent much of the term in the Roos' half.

Jasmine Garner found a rare bit of space 20m from goal on the tightest of angles in a defensive lapse from Adelaide, booting another major to build out to a two-goal buffer.

Adelaide peppered for the remainder of the quarter, but were unable to work their way past the final line of the Roos' defence, with Jasmine Ferguson and Sarah Wright standing tall as the Crows went to the break with 1.5 in the books.

Ponter's second came minutes after the half-time break, cutting the margin to just three points, and her third – five minutes later – gave Adelaide the lead for the first time since the opening minute.

While in the first half North Melbourne had applied plenty of that scintillating pressure it produced in its qualifying final against Melbourne, Adelaide began to tighten the screws as the Roos faltered, unable to maintain the rage.

Ultimately, inaccuracy cost Adelaide, but it was a brave performance and another fine season from the minor premier and perennial powerhouse of the AFLW.

Stevie-Lee Thompson found a stack of footy on the wing, with 16 touches to the main break (but only one in the final term), Ebony Marinoff worked her guts out in the midfield with 12 tackles and Chelsea Biddell was composed in defence.


NORTH MELBOURNE       2.1    3.2    4.4   4.8 (32)
ADELAIDE                        1.2    1.5    3.7   4.7 (31) 

North Melbourne: 
Randall 2, Shierlaw, Garner
Adelaide: Ponter 3

North Melbourne: Bruton, Garner, Riddell, Pullar, Wright
Adelaide: Marinoff, Ponter, Thompson, Biddell, Hatchard

North Melbourne: Nil
Adelaide: Nil