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Richmond Tigers v North Melbourne Kangaroos, semi final, match report, live blog, Punt Road, venue, clash, Matildas, locked out, crowd

Richmond refused to give in to their call to eject thousands of AFLW fans from Saturday’s semifinals, and the move spectacularly backfired as the Tigers were eliminated by 36 points.

North Melbourne continued their unbeaten run at Punt Road, easily knocking out Richmond in the belt from 11.8 (74) to 6.2 (38).

Roos star Jasmine Garner did the decisive damage with 22 dismounts, eight tackles and two goals – despite a hard hit by the Tigers.

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After the game, Garner was thrilled that the Roos had reached their first prelim final, despite all the controversy over the Punt Road venue.

“It’s freaking awesome, we’re coming out firing,” she said.

“We fucking love playing on this court.”

Tigers skipper Katie Brennan did everything to lift her side, while teammate Sarah Hosking absolutely threw her weight in the second half and tried to spark a comeback.

But it wasn’t enough as North Melbourne move on to meet Melbourne in next week’s group stage final.

MATCH BLOG

Richmond drew first blood in the AFLW semifinals after Katelyn Cox dropped to the back of the field with a dangerous inside 50.

Cox made no mistake with her quick snap and scored her first-ever AFLW goal.

But the constant push forward finally paid off for the Roos as Sophie Abbatangelo produced a brilliant set shot from the pocket to put her side a point clear midway through the first season.

When Emma King received a free kick for a pushout, she set up Ash Riddell on the 45 and the footy ended with Alice O’Loughlin just 20 yards from goal.

O’Loughlin stepped back and easily extended the Roos’ lead.

“A fantastic play from King – (the 45 kick) changed the entire Richmond defense,” commentator Libby Birch said.

Abbatangelo was able to score her second goal of the day simply by playing to the referee’s whistle and refusing to stop when the others around her did.

The Roo sauntered into an open gate just as warning bells began ringing for the Tigers.

But it took star Monique Conti to ignite Richmond as she set up Courtney Wakefield with her first touch of the day.

Conti entered the semifinals with a badly strapped knee and appeared handicapped at times in the first term.

But she stepped up when her side needed her.

A hard free-kick for Emelia Yassir ensured the Tigers closed to two points at the first substitution.

Jasmine Garner continued her hot form as she scored the first goal of the second term before a soft free king for king saw her backtrack and her second kick – giving North a 15-point lead.

Katie Brennan had a half-chance for Richmond moments later but was quickly shut down as the Roos’ intensity subsided.

And it was Garner again who did the damage to the Roos as she drifted forward and scored her second goal.

“It’s an achievement,” said commentator Alister Nicholson.

“You can see her weaponizing her size advantage today,” Birch added.

“She’s already dominated. Two marks within 50 and she changed the game for North Melbourne.”

Yassir kept the Tigers within range with an “opportunistic goal” from a stride, but again the Tigers failed to stop North’s forward run.

Isabella Eddey was the lucky receiver as she sat down at the back of the pack and reclaimed North’s 21-point lead.

“This is going to be a little gunfight!” Nicholson said.

“That’s the ball movement that we saw from North Melbourne when they were at their best,” Birch added.

When Libby Graham failed to finish the contest, Ellie Gavalas pounced and landed North’s eighth goal for the half.

North Melbourne led through the main change with 29 points.

Commentator Ellie Blackburn was stunned by Garner’s half-time performance.

“What a star player she is,” she said.

“Jasmine took her day at McDonald forward and was able to do a couple of holds within 50.

“She’s incredibly versatile… Her working speed is just extraordinary.”

Fox Footy commentator Lauren Wood described Garner as a “freak”.

“It’s just a certainty — there’s death, taxes, and Jasmine Garner, stepping up when it matters most.”

Despite struggling with a foot problem, it was Katie Brennan who secured the Tigers first from third place as the Richmond players raised.

A series of bloody tackles went unrewarded for the Tigers, but the pressure mounted.

“It’s really crucial to change the mindset of this team,” said Hickey.

But again, the Roos’ run through the middle of the floor just couldn’t be stopped as Randall pushed their lead back out.

Sarah Hosking absolutely threw her weight around with a massive punch at Mia King before Conti scored her first goal of the game.

Struggling with both a knee and groin problem, Conti made his way to third and it paid off as the lead closed to 23 points.

Roos star Garner went to the bench for North amid massive injury concerns but returned to the ground.

And despite all the physical pressure from Richmond, the Roos drove to their biggest lead of the game – 30 points – on the last substitution.

And it just wasn’t to be Richmond’s day as Yassir missed an easy goal before Brennan was denied in what looked like the ‘fire starter’ goal the Tigers needed.

When North simply added his 11th goal of the game and his highest scoring for the season, they booked themselves a tentative finish date with Melbourne for next weekend.

TIGERS GROUND CONTROVERSY RULES

Richmond are on their way to a place where they have won just four of their last 12 games, while semi-final opponents North Melbourne are yet to be beaten at Punt Road – winning four in four.

But the Tigers are bolstered by the return of vice-captain Sarah Hosking after missing the qualifiers with an adductor strain.

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The Roos will go into action with an unchanged line-up after their thrilling final win over Geelong.

Coach Darren Crocker says his side are focused on winning despite the drama surrounding Saturday’s venue.

“All I’m disappointed with is that the game obviously sold out in 13 minutes and not only will there be a lot of North Melbourne fans, but I can imagine the Tigers fans being quite disappointed that they didn’t can come and support their team,” he said.

“If we want to develop a product like AFLW, this might be the time to open it up and play at a larger capacity venue.

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“To keep it down to 2800 people, we played Richmond in the last game home and away – a non-final and we had 3100 people here on Arden Street.

“It would make sense to move it (to a larger venue). We are happy to be able to play anytime, anywhere.”

Saturday’s semi-finals begin at 1.40pm AEDT, with the winner meeting Melbourne in the semi-finals next week.

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