For Leah Kaslar, being appointed to lead the Gold Coast SUNS AFLW team in its first season is the ultimate honour.
Originally from Cairns, Kaslar begun barracking for the club in 2011 and now will lead out its first ever AFLW team on February 8.
“I’m really proud to be an inaugural co-captain of the team,” Kaslar told SUNS Media.
“I’ve supported the SUNS since the inception of the club and I never even thought there’d be a women’s team or AFLW to begin with so it’s quite unreal to be the captain and I’ll do my best to do the club proud.”
Kaslar will lead alongside fellow co-captain and close friend Sam Virgo, with the pair sharing a special bond after three seasons together at Brisbane.
“Sam and I played at the Brisbane Lions together and we’ve won a Queensland Best & Fairest together a few years ago,” Kaslar said.
“Sam’s got time for everyone, she’s a really smart footballer and I know that a lot of the players go to her when they’ve got questions about their game.
“She’s so motivated to helping everyone and has a great sense of humour as well so everyone loves being around her.
“To have us two standing here together with such a great history together is amazing.”
It’s not the first time Kaslar has led an AFLW club after holding the top job at Brisbane in 2019.
The biggest thing she’s learnt is how important it is to be herself along the way and has the confidence to lead by example around the club.
This year, the biggest challenge she’ll face is trying to unite a group of 30 teammates playing together for the first time.
“Obviously it’s our first year in the competition so some of the teams have been around together for a couple of years and have got a lot of experience together,” Kaslar said.
“We’ve got to fast-track that and really get to know each other.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction – we’ve had a pre-season camp together in Yamba and done a lot of fun social activities and bonding activities where you get to know what makes each other tick.
“I think if you get to know people well and develop really good relationships it usually translates into trust and good footy and wanting to stand up and tackle someone who gets in someone else’s way.
“I think we’ve made a good step in that direction.”
The group is getting better each day, Kaslar says, with everything leading up to Round 1 against GWS next weekend.
“I think we’re pretty excited,” she said.
“We’ve just had two practice matches and we saw some players really stand up and show what they’ve got.
“There’s definitely a buzz around the group and we’ve worked really hard over pre-season.
“Everyone’s really looking forward to that first game and the opportunity to wear that jumper with pride and represent the club.”