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AFLW: Big boost for Giants as star seeks return

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There was a huge learning curve for me in terms of the skills and the physicality
Cora Staunton

GREATER Western Sydney's Irish star Cora Staunton has given a firm indication she wants to return for the 2019 NAB AFL Women's season.

Most AFLW players are out of contract and cannot be re-signed by their club until the official sign and trade period, from May 23-June 4.

Staunton returned home to Castlebar in Ireland's north-west just under a month ago, having had surgery on her nose before she left. Her nose was broken in the Giants' round three match.

Speaking on the Women's Australian Rules Football Radio podcast, the 36-year-old said she was keen to develop her new-found Australian football skills over the upcoming Irish summer.

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"I'm still practising here at home – I need to be focusing on my skills. My fitness work will come through playing GA (Gaelic Association football)," Staunton said.

"The club sent a good few footballs home with me when I was leaving in April. I'm lucky enough an Irish guy who was playing with the Brisbane Lions, Cian Hanley, who returned home earlier this year … lives not far from me here in Castlebar.

"Cian will be taking me for some extra kicking sessions, so that's brilliant someone of his calibre can help me with my skill sessions."

Staunton played all seven matches for the Giants this season in the forward line, kicking five goals and leading the club for score involvements (23).

While in Sydney, Staunton stayed with her brother, his wife and their two children, but is now back with the rest of her family, training five to six sessions a week in Gaelic football between club side Carnachon and county team Mayo.

She works in health services, primarily with people from the Traveller community.

In her spare time, she's trying to continue to learn as much as she can about Australian football.

"There was a huge learning curve for me in terms of the skills and the physicality, as obviously our game at home is a non-contact sport," Staunton said.

"Then the education around the game – I had to spend a lot of extra time on the training pitch and in the classroom learning the rules, the systems of play and the structures the (coach) wants you to play.

"So, it's quite difficult, and even now in the off-season, I'm learning a lot of that and I'm watching a lot of the AFL games to help with my education around the game.

"I've been playing football for the last 20-plus years, just keeping myself ticking over, so Al (Giants coach Alan McConnell) just said not to overdo it and to come back as fresh as I can in a couple of months.

"That's the main thing."