North Melbourne midfielder Emma Kearney will miss Saturday's Round 1 clash against Geelong.

Kearney was absent from the AFLW's Captain's Day on Tuesday, with the 32-year-old in isolation until Friday night after testing positive to COVID-19.

Despite being permitted to leave isolation prior to North Melbourne's season opener, the club has looked to take no risk with the veteran's health.

“Emma’s health is our number one priority,” Kanagroos' Head of Women’s Football Nathan Hrovat said. 

“Our medical and performance staff work to safely manage our players back into training and competition. Emma is doing well but isn’t quite well enough to return this week, a decision we unconditionally support.

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“When it comes to COVID-19, each individual circumstance is different which means we will see many different management strategies across the AFLW season.

“Ultimately, we have made the conservative decision and put Emma’s health first.”

The 2018 AFLW Best and Fairest averaged 20.8 disposals, 9.4 contested possessions and 311.5 meters gained per match in 2021 to rank among the elite bracket of midfielders in the league.

Kearney has also amassed a stellar run of durability across her 39-game AFLW career, having not missed a single match since making her debut with the Bulldogs in 2017.

The Kangaroos are likely to remain favourites against the Cats despite Kearney being sidelined, with the Shinboners entering the new season as one of the premiership fancies.

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North Melbourne finished sixth last season with a 6-3 record, while Geelong were able to avoid the wooden spoon after claiming their sole win of the year in the final round against Gold Coast.

The Kangaroos will host the Cats at Arden Street at 5:10pm on Saturday.