Four fresh faces will be running out in the red and blue for the first time this weekend.
Libby Birch, Casey Sherriff, Sinead Goldrick and Gabby Colvin have all earned their place in Melbourne’s side of 21 for Round 1, with all four girls coming from a variety of backgrounds.
Birch joins the Dees as a former Bulldogs premiership player, while Sherriff’s chance comes a year after being recruited from the Casey Demons.
Goldrick is set to play her first senior game of Aussie Rules since coming across from Ireland over the off-season, while Colvin is the first of Melbourne’s 2019 draft crop to make an AFLW debut.
These girls have all impressed in the pre-season matches and are ready to take their chance at the top level.
North Melbourne is one of the competitions best sides and it has kept the majority of its list together over the off-season.
The Kangas narrowly missed a finals berth in a competitive Conference A last season but showed enough to suggest they could be a powerhouse in 2020.
Led by AFLW Best and Fairest winner Emma Kearney, the Roos have a dangerous midfield and a high scoring forward line, with Emma King and Jasmine Garner proving hard to stop inside 50.
The last time the two sides met, North Melbourne got the better of the Dees in a four-point thriller at Casey Fields, and this weekend could be just as close.
What It Means
In just an eight-game season, Round 1 is crucial.
North Melbourne missed out on a finals spot last season with just two losses, so banking early wins is all the more important.
The Dees dropped their opening game of 2019 by just four points to Fremantle, leaving them chasing the pack for the remainder of the year.
While it’s going to be a tough challenge against one of the league’s best sides, claiming the four points would be a massive boost to Melbourne’s finals hopes.
Look Out For
All the talk in the lead up to this game has been around Daisy Pearce, and rightfully so.
The Dees’ skipper is set to play her first game since giving birth to twins last year, capping off a remarkable recovery.
Pearce’s rehab over the off-season has been faultless and she’s got her body in pristine condition to take to the field for the first time in nearly two years.
The 31-year-old’s return is not only a heart-warming story, but she’s a tremendous leader and a star of the competition, providing a significant boost for her side.
Head down to Casey Fields on Saturday afternoon to see the girls in action from 3:10pm.
The gates open at 2pm and entry to the game is free.
For more information, take a look at the full GAME DAY GUIDE.