Gold Coast are one step closer to their second-ever AFLW finals appearance after claiming a 31-point win over Greater Western Sydney.
Having lost every match against the Giants since their first in 2020, the Suns prevailed 7.6 (48) to 2.5 (17) at Heritage Bank Stadium on Friday.
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).
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.
But their momentum was stopped abruptly by a gruesome head clash between Elise Barwick and the Giants’ Jessica Doyle, which left Barwick unresponsive.
The 24-year-old was stretchered off the ground and is expected to be out of action for at least two weeks with a concussion. Gold Coast later announced she was back on her feet in the sheds.
With the teams finishing with one behind apiece at quarter-time, 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 anterior cruciate ligament 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.