Gold Coast has overcome a sickening head clash which forced Elise Barwick from the field in the opening quarter, to claim their first victory over Greater Western Sydney.
The Suns are a step closer to the second AFLW finals series in the club’s history, prevailing 7.6 (48) to 2.5 (17) over the Giants at home.
Barwick was stretchered off the ground and is expected to be out of action for at least two weeks with a concussion, following a gruesome head clash with the Giants’ Jessica Doyle.
Barwick was left unresponsive on the ground, with the contest being halted for several minutes.
After being stretchered off, Gold Coast announced the 24-year-old was back on her feet in the sheds.
Elise Barwick of the Suns was stretchered from the field after being injured.(AAP: Dave Hunt)
Now with five wins to their name for the season, the Suns end round nine in fifth place and secure their first finals appearance since the cancelled 2020 series.
Claudia Whitfort (one goal, 34 disposals, nine clearances) was electric in the midfield for the Suns, alongside Charlie Rowbottom (one, 24, six) and 50-gamer Alison Drennan (27 disposals).
Fresh off kicking five goals against Carlton last round, 18-year-old Zarlie Goldsworthy (17 disposals, four clearances) was again a shining light for the Giants, who sorely missed Georgia Garnett (knee) and Alyce Parker (ankle).
Maddy Brancatisano of the Suns (centre) celebrates after kicking a goal.(AAP: Dave Hunt)
Gold Coast wasted no time in starting the game on their terms, winning the first centre clearance to get an inside-50 in the opening minute.
The stoppage for Barwick’s injury took all momentum out of the game, with the sides trading solitary behinds in the opening term.
Gold Coast skipper Tara Bohanna opened the second term with the first goal of the game, backed up by majors to Rowbottom and Jamie Stanton.
Isabel Huntington responded to give the Giants a much-needed six pointer, slotting her first goal since rupturing an ACL in last season’s opening round.
Returning from a one-match suspension, Rebecca Beeson attempted to keep the Suns close with a major in the third term.
But Beeson’s effort to lift her side proved wasted, with Gold Coast storming home with four goals across the second half — from Jacqueline Dupuy, Bohanna, Whitfort and Maddy Brancatisano.
Gold Coast (5-3) take on fellow finals hopefuls Essendon in the last round of the home-and-away season, while GWS (2-7) make another interstate trip to play lowly Port Adelaide.
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Source: AFL NEWS ABC