AN INACCURATE North Melbourne has held off a tenacious Gold Coast, holding strong in the last quarter to win by 13 points.
The Roos would be relieved to escape with the four points in the 6.11 (47) to 5.4 (34) win, played under perfect conditions at the first AFLW game to be held at Arden Street Oval.
A tense last term saw North Melbourne kick three straight behinds and the SUNS continually threaten, before small forward Daisy Bateman kicked her second and celebrated with a pumped home crowd.
Gold Coast certainly weren't overawed in the opening stages, despite North Melbourne coming off a whopping 56-point win last week over Richmond.
The SUNS brought what is quickly becoming their trademark fierce-tackling style, forcing the Roos into skill errors and converting their chances up forward.
Led by skipper Emma Kearney, North Melbourne responded after quarter time.
Jas Garner started forward and nearly had a major on the ball in the opening seconds; the Roos ultimately kicking 1.2 (through a Jess Trend goal) in the space of three minutes. They had pushed the margin to 15 points by the main break.
Kearney (26 disposals, seven marks, five inside 50s) comfortably had one of her best games for the season. The skipper's gut running was a standout, often kicking off a scoring chain at half-back before being involved further on down the field.
SUN Kate Surman kicked the goal of the day at the start of the third, sharking the ball right out of Jasmine Grierson's hand and breaking free of the subsequent tackle before slotting a low kick from 40 metres.
It was the Suns' first since quarter-time, and was quickly followed by a Kalinda Howarth snap (her second), cutting the margin to just three points.
Coming up against her old side, Jamie Stanton (17 disposals) continued her fine season in the midfield in a four-quarter performance, while Howarth was a threat across half-forward and Lauren Bella shone in the ruck.
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.2 4.5 5.7 6.11 (47)
GOLD COAST 2.1 2.2 4.3 5.4 (34)
North Melbourne: Bateman 2, Abbatangelo, Trend, El.King, Em.King
Gold Coast: Howarth 2, Ernst, Surman, Ahrens
North Melbourne: Kearney, Garner, Gavalas, Gillespie-Jones, Abbatangelo
Gold Coast: Stanton, Yorston, Ahrens, Bella, Howarth
North Melbourne: Abbatangelo (cut head)
Gold Coast: Nil
Crowd: 3280 at Arden Street