Elise Barwick laid motionless on the ground for a number of minutes after a sickening head clash in the opening few minutes of Gold Coast’s Round 9 AFLW clash with GWS on Friday night.
The Suns player collided with the Giants’ Jessica Doyle and came off second best, bringing the game to a complete standstill for about five minutes.
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Trainers rushed to the 24-year-old’s side, but she was unresponsive during a scary few moments before eventually being stretchered off the ground.
“It was a full-on collision, they were head on head, she’s hardly moved unfortunately,” former Port Adelaide and Brisbane midfielder said of the incident.
“She’s been able to respond to the trainers at the moment, but serious concerns down here at ground level.
“That was a very, very tough contest early on in this one, and you could hear the thud from 15m-20m away.”
Barwick 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.
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Elise Barwick laid motionless on the ground. Credit: Fox Sports
Stunned players from both sides converged together while the delay went on, which eventually passed when Barwick was safely off the ground and down into the rooms.
Neither team had registered a score at the time, and the two shell-shocked sides failed to register a score for the rest of the quarter, but the Suns soon rectified that, skipping away to a 31-point win, bringing them one step closer to their second-ever AFLW finals appearance.
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 to all but book their place in the top eight.
With five wins to their name for the season, the Suns could end the round in fifth place and secure their first finals appearance since the cancelled 2020 series.
“It was a really professional performance. We’ve been looking for that over the last month,” Gold Coast coach Cameron Joyce said after the match.
“Even at quarter-time, when it was a point each, the girls did a great job at being able to reset.”
Gold Coast got to grips with Greater Western Sydney in the AFLW, beating the Giants by 31 points. Credit: Dave Hunt/AAP
Claudia Whitfort (34 disposals, one goal, nine clearances) was electric in the midfield for the Suns, alongside Charlie Rowbottom (24, one, 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) to injuries.
“We got taught a lesson tonight from a side that is very good at the contest,” GWS coach Cam Bernasconi said.
“It’s probably one of the sour losses — I don’t think we played a Giants brand for much (of the game).
“We were just arm-wrestling and trying to make sure they weren’t dominating the contest.
“The pressure, that’s what we want to build our game around — that’s the Giants’ ‘orange tsunami’.”
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.
Trainers rushed to her aid. Credit: Russell Freeman/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty ImagesShe was eventually stretchered off. Credit: Russell Freeman/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images
But their momentum was stopped abruptly by Barwick’s gruesome head clash.
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 major, slotting her first goal since rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament in last season’s opening round.
Returning from a one-match suspension, Rebecca Beeson kept the Giants within striking distance when she put one through in the third term.
But Gold Coast stormed 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.
– With AAP
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