Kearney’s kick did not match the explosiveness of the run but it was enough to give King an advantage in the one-on-one contest as she spun around once the ball hit the ground to kick a settling goal.
The lead was once again beyond a kick and the sometimes-hesitant Kangaroos seemed to have the game in hand.
It was enough but it was only just with the 13-point margin flattering North Melbourne who were threatened up until Daisy Bateman kicked the sealer with less than two minutes remaining.
That the ball was down there at all was due to Kearney’s poise inside the final four minutes when she won two vital possessions in the middle of the ground which enabled the Kangaroos to gain the territory that is so vital in AFLW and they were able to hold off the gallant Suns who made them work for every possession all day.
It was a credit to the Suns who have played their first season in AFLW with great spirit, having a dip and refusing to drop their heads at any point.
Even when the Kangaroos jumped out of the blocks with a goal in front of their home crowd within the first two minutes the Suns responded immediately through AFLW veteran Tiarna Ernst who sparked the Suns when she kicked her first AFLW goal.
Their tackling pressure forward of centre stopped North Melbourne’s run out of defence giving their defenders time to outnumber the sometimes stagnant Kangaroos’ forward-line that struggled for cohesion.
The Suns attacked the second half with great ferocity, with pocket rocket Kate Surman breaking a tackle before snapping an excellent goal while an interception soon after led to Kalinda Howarth’s second goal.
Howarth had picked up where she left off from last week when she earned a rising star nomination proving to be a dangerous option, with her activity creating uncertainty in the minds of North’s defenders who gave away two goals when they were pinged for holding the ball.
In the end the Suns were brave but not good enough to match Kearney and her sidekick Jasmine Garner who was brilliant inside the contest to finish with 29 possessions.
North Melbourne 1.2 4.5 5.7 6.11 (37)
Gold Coast 2.1 2.2 4.3 5.4 (34)
Goals: North Melbourne: Bateman 2,Abbatangelo, Elisha King, Trend, Emma King
Gold Coast: Howarth 2, Ernst, Surman, Ahrens
Best: North Melbourne: Kearney, Garner, Riddel, Gilroy, Grierson
Gold Coast: Ernst, Howarth, Ahrens
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.