GWS star injured in AFLW win over Suns

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GWS have overcome the loss of Olympic gold medallist Chloe Dalton to post a 15-point AFLW win over Gold Coast at Great Barrier Reef Arena.

Dalton starred in the opening half of Sunday's match, with the highlight a burst through the middle that set up a goal to Katherine Smith in the second term.

But Dalton, who won Olympic gold with the Australian Rugby 7s team in 2016 and is also a former WNBL player, was forced off the field a short time later after hurting her shoulder while being crunched.

The Giants led by five points at the time of Dalton's exit, and they produced a commanding effort in the second half to seal the 5.6 (36) to 3.3 (21) win.

Dalton was ruled out of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics just weeks out from the Games after suffering a broken cheekbone.

She was looking to put that disappointment behind her by having a standout campaign for the Giants in 2022, but she could miss the rest of the season if scans reveal a serious injury.

"There's a bit of a concern with where we get to with Chloe Dalton. Time will tell with regards to her injury," GWS coach Alan McConnell said.

Giants midfielder Alyce Parker was arguably best afield with 21 disposals and eight tackles, while Alicia Eva (22 possessions), Haneen Zreika (16 disposals), and 40-year-old Irish forward Cora Staunton (two goals) were also crucial.

GWS defender Brid Stack, who broke her neck in a practice game a year ago, was solid in her AFLW debut, putting her body on the line in some key moments.

Kalinda Howarth tallied 13 disposals and a goal for Gold Coast, while No.1 draft pick Charlie Rowbottom showed promise with 11 touches.

"In terms of her attack on the footy for an 18-year-old player coming straight in, I think everyone would definitely see that," Gold Coast coach Cameron Joyce said of Rowbottom.

"She certainly got involved and took a nice mark out on the wing there. She's only going to get better, and that's exciting for us."

The opening half was an intense arm wrestle that featured four lead changes as both sides went hard at the ball.

Gold Coast led by nine points at quarter time and one point at halftime, but the Giants dominated from that point on, with Staunton booting two second-half goals to seal the win.

"We had some nice chains really early in the game, and I thought it sort of put us in a bit of a comfort zone," McConnell said.

"For the rest of the first half, they punched us up.

"We needed to reassess how we were playing at halftime, and to our girls' credit, we certainly came home like a train around the ball."

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