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AFLW grand final: Leah Kaslah Queensland’s best full-back

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PLUGGER, Duck, Buddy, Fev and now Tex.

Every defender knows the fewer names an opponent needs to be instantly recognised, the more trouble they can cause.

When the TV commentators are running with nicknames, they are in for a tough day.

That is the task facing tough Brisbane full-back Leah Kaslar, who must stop the juggernaut that is Sarah “Tex” Perkins in Saturday’s WAFL grand final.

Tex is the new women’s league’s No. 1 cult figure.

She has the leading patterns of a natural forward, uses her strength well and has a kick like a mule.

She loves a celebration too.

It is her football journey that has captured the public imagination, how she was overlooked in the draft but then thrown a lifeline when Crows coach Bec Goddard was told about the Victorian full-forward who had recently shed a whopping 40kg in her quest to make it to the big time.

The Suns have adopted the Lions women’s team and captain Steven May, in a show of solidarity for a fellow defender, has become a fan of Kaslar and caught up with her in the week before the game.

“We are very excited to get the game down here,’’ May said. “I know through circumstances they lost the game at the Gabba but the Suns are happy, our boys have been following the girls, as we like to call them the Queensland Lions.

“Leah is playing on Tex, which will be a tough job. She is undersized, but I am an undersized backman as well and you have just got to find a way.

“So best of luck to her, I’ll be supporting her all the way.’’

media_cameraBrisbane full-back Leah Kaslar and Gold Coast co-captain Steven May. Picture: Adam Head

So who is Queensland’s best full-back?

“I am going to have to say Leah, she’s the one playing in a grand final,’’ May said.

“It is a super effort by her and all the team. They came together at short notice, they certainly weren’t tipped to make the grand final, and it is a credit to them everything they have achieved so far.’’

Kaslar, the reigning QWAFL best and fairest, kept Perkins to two goals last time they played, one coming from a dubious free kick that would have done the rounds of the TV footy shows had it been paid in an AFL game.

Perkins hits the final in solid form, having booted four goals in last week’s win over Collingwood that cemented the Crows’ grand final berth.

“Going up against Tex is really hard, she’s a strong player and a little bit taller than me but I love a challenge,’’ Kaslar said.

“My aim is definitely to keep her well under four this weekend.

“Last time I thought I went pretty well. I won a fair bit of the contested ball and was able to move it out of there.’’

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