Staunton stars as Giants outlast Eagles
A DOMINANT performance from Irish forward Cora Staunton has helped GWS defeat West Coast by 20 points in western Sydney, extending the visitors’ winless AFLW season.
Staunton booted four goals and created several others to help the Giants prevail 7.6 (48) to 4.4 (28) at Blacktown International Sportspark.
GWS won ugly at the same venue a week ago, when heavy rain and slippery conditions meant goals were hard to come by in their scrappy clash with Gold Coast.
The sun was shining on Sunday, setting the stage for the Giants’ highest score of the season – and a potent start from both sides.
A combined quarter-time score of 7.3 (45) was just one point short of equalling the most prolific first term in AFLW history.
Staunton, as she has done so often since starting her AFLW career in 2018, led the way for GWS.
The 39-year-old, who feared her career was over after breaking both the tibia and fibula bones in her right leg during 2019, kicked the hosts’ opening two goals.
The Gaelic football legend, who returned to Australia last December and was released from hotel quarantine on Christmas Day, continued to work tirelessly.
With the game in the balance and the Giants’ lead just seven points after a goal-less third term, Staunton stepped up with two goals in two minutes.
Staunton’s third goal was an opportunistic effort after repeat stoppages in the Giants’ forward line, a product of their impressive pressure, while her fourth was a cracking set shot from the pocket.
West Coast wasn’t daunted during a frenetic and fierce start to the contest, hitting the front when Maddy Collier slotted her side’s third goal.
GWS steadied to establish a seven-point lead at quarter-time.
The Eagles trailed for the rest of the game, with Aisling McCarthy’s knee injury souring the defeat.
McCarthy landed awkwardly after a marking contest late in the final term, taking several minutes to get back on her feet.
Staunton finished best on ground but teammate Tait Mackrill produced arguably the best goal of the day, kicking truly from just inside the 50m arc.
GWS young gun Alyce Parker (25 disposals and six tackles) continued her productive start to the season, while Isabella Lewis (16 disposals and nine tackles) was among the Eagles’ best.
(C) AAP 2021
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY GIANTS 4.2 5.3 5.4 7.6 (48)
WEST COAST EAGLES 3.1 4.1 4.3 4.4 (28)
Goals: Greater Western Sydney Giants: C Staunton 4 J Dal Pos R Beeson T Mackrill. West Coast Eagles: A Atkins M Bowen M Collier P Laurie.
Official Crowd: 975 at Blacktown Olympic Park.