Gold Coast has fallen just short in its opening match of the 2022 AFLW season, going down to the GWS GIANTS by 15 points at Great Barrier Reef Arena.

GIANTS' Chloe 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.

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.

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

The Giants dominated the clearances early and scored the first goal of the match, but Howarth helped turn the momentum Gold Coast's way with a lively effort inside 50m.

Howarth's goal, and a major to Tara Bohanna, helped give the Suns a nine-point edge at quarter-time, but the margin was back to one point by the long break after GWS dug in during the second quarter.

GWS dominated the third term, with the Suns not registering their first inside 50m until the final three minutes of the quarter.

Although the Giants could only kick one goal for the term, their dominance continued in the final quarter, with Staunton's second goal sealing the win.

GOLD COAST                                 2.3     3.3     3.3     3.3     (21) 
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY     1.0     3.2     4.3     5.6     (36) 

Gold Coast: Bohanna, Howarth, Perkins
Greater Western Sydney: Staunton 2, Beeson, Privitelli, Smith

Gold Coast: Stanton, Howarth, Ahrens, Bella, Rowbottom
Greater Western Sydney: Parker, Eva, Beeson, Zreika, Mackrill

Gold Coast: Nil
Greater Western Sydney: Dalton (shoulder)

Reports: Nil