LOCAL favourite Alyce Parker has returned to her ball-winning best and Cora Staunton booted four goals to lead Greater Western Sydney back into the top three of Conference A with a comprehensive 45-point win over Richmond in Wagga.
STAUNTON STAMPS ON TIGERS Full match coverage and stats
After being heavily targeted in last week's loss to Brisbane, Parker – who grew up on a farm just outside of Wagga – inspired the Giants with 24 possessions and four tackles in their 7.14 (56) to 1.5 (11) victory on Saturday.
Fellow midfielders Rebecca Beeson and Jess Dal Pos were also highly influential and enjoyed the solid work of rucks Erin McKinnon and Jess Allen, who combined for 30 hit outs.
Staunton was too quick and smart for the Tigers defence and Rebecca Privitelli (two goals and five marks) was an outstanding ally as the pair of mobile targets helped the Giants take 17 marks inside 50 to just one.
Both GWS forwards covered plenty of territory, working hard up the ground to offer a target, but they also put in just as much effort to get back towards goal.
Gun Richmond onballer Monique Conti was her team's only prime mover and finished with 21 disposals and six tackles, while former Giant Phoebe Monahan (22 touches) fought hard in defence against a constant wave of GWS attacks.
The Giants could have ended the contest early in the third term if they'd kicked straight but it mattered little as they took advantage of a lopsided inside 50 count (32-20) to kick the only four goals of the second half, and the last five goals of the match.
After Adelaide was defeated by North Melbourne earlier on Saturday, the Giants knew a massive reward was on offer, and the four-quarter performance would have pleased coach Alan McConnell.
Captain Alicia Eva (foot) is a chance to return next week for the trip to take on the Crows in another boost for the Giants.
The defeat continued a miserable first season for Richmond which remains winless after five rounds, but skipper Katie Brennan (concussion) could return for their clash with St Kilda next week.
Staunton's storied athletic career looked all but over when she snapped her leg playing club footy in the off-season, but she's responded in remarkable fashion. Almost 10 months to the day of her injury, she torched the Tigers, who couldn't contain the Irish star.
It was over when...
The Giants dominated the start of the third quarter but failed to put the Tigers away when they missed three relatively easy chances. Staunton then burst away from a stoppage inside 50 with power and kicked truly with a brilliant individual effort to put them 27 points up.
The ladder now
The win was crucial for the Giants and saw them jump back into third spot on the ladder in Conference A, after the Crows were belted by North Melbourne earlier on Saturday. The big challenge now for GWS is to register back-to-back victories for the first time this year to consolidate their position.
One to watch
Privitelli continues to impress in her return to AFLW and attacked the footy strongly inside 50. She kicked two goals of her own and worked well in tandem with Staunton and Jacinda Barclay. She'll only get better with more footy under her belt.
GWS had too many quality options through the midfield with Parker, Dal Pos, Beeson and Britt Tully all finding plenty of ball, while Conti was forced to fight a lone hand. The former Bulldog fought valiantly but was overwhelmed by a lack of support.
"I thought we trashed our brand a little bit last week, Brisbane pulled our pants down, so it was really good that we could play that well for 90 per cent of the game. We don't fear anybody in the competition. - GWS coach Alan McConnell
"(We need to) Clone 'Mon' (Conti) and find another one of her. She's a super talent but didn't quite get enough support." - Richmond coach Tom Hunter
The Tigers head back to Melbourne for a clash with St Kilda at RSEA Park on Saturday, while the Giants are on the road, taking on Adelaide at Hisense Oval on Sunday
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 2.5 3.8 4.13 7.14 (56)
RICHMOND 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.5 (11)
Giants: Staunton 4, Privitelli 2, Halvorsen
Giants: Staunton, Parker, Beeson, Privitelli, Tully, Bennetts
Richmond: Conti, Monahan, Dempsey
Giants: Nicola Barr (hamstring)
Crowd: 3,377 at Robertson Oval