The Lions young gun who's desperate to beat her best mates

NOT MUCH fazes Brisbane defender Indy Tahau, who will run on to Adelaide Oval on Saturday as the youngest player in the NAB AFL Women's Grand Final.

Tahau has blazed a different trail to most ahead of the biggest day of the season.

And for Brisbane, the 18-year-old just might have as much knowledge about the opposition as anyone.

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Tahau grew up nine hours west of Brisbane in the small rural town of Cunnamulla, home to just over 1000 people.

It was there she learned how to be tough, playing rugby league on red dirt fields.

"There's two schools and probably one supermarket out there," Tahau told womens.afl.

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"It's in the middle of nowhere. It's a strong Aboriginal town, a beautiful culture. It's the most west you can think of, red dirt everywhere.

"You grew to be tough quite early, you rolled around playing footy and had a lot of grazes.

"That was normal, we didn't know what soft grass was. We just wore the shoulder pads and went hard," she laughed.

Brisbane's Indy Tahau tackles Collingwood's Tarni Brown in round seven, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Tahau comes from a huge family of New Zealand heritage. Forty "intimate" family members will watch her play on Saturday.

They moved to Adelaide when Tahau was 11, where she switched from the 13-a-side rugby league to the 15-a-side rugby union.

Talent ran in the family, with her brother Kuti heading east to pursue his career with the ACT Brumbies

After also dabbling in netball for a year, Tahau tried her hand at Australian football – and adapted like a duck to water.

Initially I thought it was a bit of a soft sport compared to union

Indy Tahau on Australian football

It's also where she met many of her rivals on Saturday, but we'll get back to that later.

As a 16-year-old, she raced through junior ranks and was snapped up by South Adelaide within a year of taking up the sport, going on to be named best on ground in its 2019 SANFL Grand Final triumph.

It wasn't exactly love at first sight though.

"Initially I thought it was a bit of a soft sport compared to union," Tahau said.

"I thought 'they don't even tackle each other', but I quickly grew to love it."

And Brisbane quickly grew to love her.

Indy Tahau at the NAB AFLW Draft Combine in Adelaide. Picture: AFL Photos

Drafted last year with pick No.37, Tahau was ushered into the team to debut against Adelaide in round four.

In that same game, young teammate Lily Postlethwaite ruptured her ACL, leaving the door ajar for 175cm Tahau to have a longer stint in the top team.

She's shown incredible composure and an ability to win one-on-one contests well beyond her relative experience.

On Saturday, Tahau will face the most decorated team in the AFLW competition – many of whose players she knows all too well after being invited to the odd session with the Crows as an under-ager.

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"I'm good mates with pretty much all the girls," she said with a beaming smile.

"They all know me, they're all lovely.

"Hannah Munyard, Teah Charlton, Madi Newman, they're my best mates. I grew up playing SANFL with them, school nearby, it'll be so cool.

"To play on them and beat them would be awesome."