Kearney, Rennie boost Roos for Tigers duel

Emma Kearney and Kim Rennie are two crucial additions for North Melbourne's re-match against Richmond in their AFLW semi-final.

Saturday's clash at Punt Rd comes a fortnight after the Tigers drew with North Melbourne in a round-10 result that had important implications for the finals series.

It was as good as a win for the Tigers and their coaches' box erupted in celebration when the final siren sounded at Arden St.

The draw meant Richmond snatched fourth place and the double chance from North and Geelong.

It gave the Tigers home ground advantage for Saturday's semi and they exercised the right to play the game at their Punt Rd headquarters.

That's sparked no small controversy, given tickets sold out in less than 15 minutes and the ground can hold only about 3000 fans.

Nearby Victoria Park and Ikon Park have larger capacities.

Amid the debate over the scheduling - Saturday afternoon's two AFLW semis also clash with the Matildas' Melbourne friendly against Sweden - North will fancy their chances despite Richmond's home ground advantage.

Kearney was missing from their round-10 match because of a knee injury and Rennie was forced out because of health and safety protocols.

North missed Kearney's leadership across half-back, especially when Richmond jumped them early.

The Kangaroos skipper demonstrated her importance by returning for last Saturday night's elimination-final win over Geelong and marshalling their backline against repeated Cat attacks.

"Having Kearns out there, it makes us stand taller," said star North onballer Jasmine Garner.

"She doesn't even have to touch the ball, just having her presence out there with us and her communication, she's always pointing fingers and giving us confidence as a team."

This week, Kearney was also added to Alastair Clarkson's coaching staff for the North AFL team.

"They're going to be pretty lucky to have her," Garner said.

"I couldn't think of anyone better to be involved in the men's program - she's pretty much another coach for us.

"On game day, she's always giving us feedback and helping us out."

Rennie's absence also hurt the Kangaroos against Richmond and she was another welcome return for the Cats final.

With Rennie back, North have a more settled midfield and they will undoubtedly help Garner, who was tagged out of the Richmond draw by Meg Macdonald.

"Us midfielders have worked really closely with her now for a second season," Garner said.

"Her out, it threw things around - Kingy (Emma King) had to come into the ruck which threw our structure out."