Matildas striker Samantha Kerr will be out to cap a memorable return from injury with W-League grand final glory when she lines up tomorrow for Sydney FC against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.
WA product Kerr, the younger sister of Eagles star Daniel Kerr, scored two goals in last week's semifinal against Brisbane to fire the Sky Blues into the decider.
Kerr enjoyed a remarkable rise to prominence as a teenager, scoring in the 2010 Asian Cup final as the Matildas beat North Korea to become the first Australian team to win a senior continental title as part of the Asian Football Confederation. She also was a key member of the Matildas' 2011 World Cup campaign.
But with the highs came the lows, and Kerr needed a knee reconstruction soon after the World Cup, forcing her out of the game for nearly a year.
After three years with hometown club Perth Glory, Kerr joined Sydney this season. The move has paid dividends.
"After having my knee reconstruction, I just wanted a bit of a change and a bit of a challenge and just a really good training environment," Kerr said.
"I've really enjoyed it and it's definitely been worth the move."
Kerr, 19, received plenty of support from coach John Gibson and teammate Kate Gill during her rehabilitation in the first half of last year. She also took advice from her brother, who has had his share of injuries in the AFL.
"Now that I look back on it, it doesn't look as hard as it was when I was going through it," Kerr said.
"But it was really hard to go through that and watch all the girls playing and training.
"When I first did it my brother told me that his hamstring injury was pretty much the same rehab and just to take care of it.
"Being young, everyone thought I was going to be stupid and not take care of myself.
"But after speaking to my brother and a few other people who had the same injury, I really knew that I had to take care of myself and get the rehab done well."
Kerr has performed on big stages before and is looking forward to the experience of playing in tomorrow's grand final.
She said there would have been more pressure on her if Glory had prevailed in last week's other semifinal, which Melbourne won in controversial fashion in a penalty shoot-out.
Sydney will have to overcome the loss of suspended New Zealand international Emma Kete and high-profile defender Ellyse Perry, who is missing because of commitments with the Australian women's cricket team.