Richmond’s miserable winless debut AFLW season has continued in Wagga Wagga, where Irishwoman Cora Staunton’s career-best haul has helped GWS to cruise to a 45-point victory.
Staunton, in a remarkable return this season after breaking the tibia and fibula bones in her right leg, starred with four goals on Saturday as the Giants triumphed 7.14 (56) to 1.5 (11).
GWS booted the club’s highest score in AFLW history and enjoyed their biggest win – and it might have been an even more-emphatic shellacking if not for a serious case of the yips.
“We knew we needed to come back after a poor performance last week against the Lions,” Staunton told Fox Footy after helping the Giants to clamber into Conference A’s top three.
A nice win but it probably should have been bigger. We kicked 14 behinds and that’s an improvement we need to look at this week.”
There had been fears the 38-year-old, who has won four All-Ireland Gaelic football titles, might be forced to retire after last year’s horrific setback.
Instead, she is spearheading the club’s push to take part in finals for the first time.
One of the notable narratives of this AFLW season has been the cellar-dwelling struggles of expansion sides Richmond, St Kilda, West Coast and Gold Coast.
The other three newcomers have at least sung their respective songs.
Based on Saturday’s performance, it is entirely possible the Tigers will go through the season without a win.
The only blemish for GWS, outside of their inaccurate goal-kicking, was Nicola Barr’s hamstring injury.
Elle Bennetts returned to the field after an injury scare in the third term, when her left leg twisted awkwardly in a tackle. Barr is likely to be on the sidelines for a couple of weeks.
Later in the day, Carlton’s superior options up forward set up a comfortable 21-points win against a dogged St Kilda at Ikon Park on Saturday night.
The Blues had several contributors on the scoresheet in the 8.2 (50) to 4.5 (29) victory that extends last season’s runners-up to 4-1 in the AFLW competition.
In the mens pre-season competition, Port Adelaide beat Western Bulldogs by 10 points in a thrilling Community Series clash at Bennett Oval.
Port has missed finals in the past two seasons but, as the Power celebrate their 150th anniversary, Port coach Ken Hinkley declared “look out, we’re coming”.
His charges certainly came home with a withering late burst with the breeze to snatch the 14.11 (95) to 13.7 (85) win against the Doggies.
The Power trailed by 20 points midway through the last quarter but found an unlikely hero in long-kicking Jarrod Lienert.
Known chiefly as a defender in his 13 AFL games, Lienert sharked a clever goal from close range to give the Power the lead with a little over a minute to play, then sealed the deal with a long bomb goal after the siren.
Port, who beat Brisbane by 21 points in their first pre-season hit-out, will go into their opening-round clash against Gold Coast with confidence but with big forward Charlie Dixon (adductor) and ruckman Scott Lycett (ankle) needing to prove their fitness after being forced from the ground in the third quarter.