Roos win by one point to reach first AFLW grand final

Two down, one to go -- North Melbourne will play Brisbane in their first grand final as they aim to complete an impressive collection of AFLW scalps.

North held on in the frenetic last minutes of Sunday's classic preliminary final to beat Adelaide by a point at Ikon Park, 4.8 (32) to 4.7 (31).

The Kangaroos turned the finals series on its head when they mauled reigning premiers Melbourne in a qualifying final.

They have banished their reputation for being a step below the AFLW's Big Three -- Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne -- who between them have won five of the six premierships.

Now they take on the Lions, who won the 2021 flag and are in their fifth grand final after Saturday night's narrow win over Geelong.

North lost their preliminary final last year to the Demons and coach Darren Crocker, whose own playing career was littered with finals heartache before the Kangaroos' 1996 AFL flag, has spoken repeatedly about staying the course.

"You can say a few weeks ago that we couldn't beat the Big Three and now we've knocked over two of them and we have one to go in a grand final," he said.

"A really gritty win, full of character and I think in finals football, that really prepares you well for the big dance.

"Whether there was a bit of resolve from last year, whether there's a bit of resolve from some of the close losses we've had this year, I thought in the last quarter the players were just super -- they dug really, really deep."

With less than three minutes left, Adelaide star Anne Hatchard took one of the AFLW's greatest marks and goaled to bring them to within one point.

But North then built a brick wall across their half-forward line to seal the win.

Adelaide are the only multiple AFLW premiers with three and, like Brisbane, were aiming for their fifth grand final.

The Crows suffered another tight loss -- by two points -- to Brisbane in their qualifying final.

"It's not much fun, getting rolled by small margins. But in the end, North Melbourne played an outstanding game and on balance, it probably felt that they had the better of the day," said Adelaide coach Matthew Clarke.

North utility Jenna Bruton was best afield with 28 disposals, highlighted by a 13-posssesion third term that Crocker hailed as "outstanding".

North's Niamh Martin had to leave the field a couple of times because of heavy knocks, but Crocker said she was not concussed and would be available next Sunday.

Kangaroos captain Emma Kearney was ill before the game and was wearing a face mask afterwards.

Her incident with Crows star Danielle Ponter at quarter-time underscored the intensity of the contest.

Kearney and Ponter clashed and then shaped up, their broad grins devoid of any mirth.

Ponter kicked Adelaide's first three goals and was outstanding, while Tahlia Randall kicked two for North.

Sunday was the fourth game in this AFLW finals series decided by less than a kick, prompting a question to Crocker about whether there should be a score review system brought in for the grand final.

"All I can say is it would be disappointing to actually lose a grand final due to the fact there's a human error, when potentially they have the ability to actually put things in place to make sure it doesn't happen," he said