Leek Aleer at GWS training on May 27, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

GREATER Western Sydney defender Leek Aleer waited patiently for his chance to shine on the big stage, and now he has literally grabbed it with both hands.

The 22-year-old's stunning intercept marks in the dying moments helped the Giants snap their three-game losing streak in a thrilling four-point win over Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday night.

Giants captain Toby Greene had pulled off a stunning right-foot snap to snatch the lead but the Cats continued to surge with more than seven minutes remaining.

It was Aleer, a stand-in for injured defender Jack Buckley, who emerged as the match-winner in just his seventh appearance at senior level.

After picking off Tom Stewart's long bomb inside-50, the lanky defender silenced the Geelong crowd when he launched over Tyson Stengle and Tom Hawkins to pull off another spectacular mark with just one minute left to play.


"I've watched it a lot. It's pretty surreal," Aleer said on Monday, having become an overnight football celebrity.

"I've been pretty patient waiting for an opportunity. I'm just glad I was able to take it with two hands.

"To be part of a big moment of the game like that means a lot to me because it means a lot to the club.

"A couple of Geelong supporters who I'm mates with back home weren't too happy."

Going for a spoil would have been the safer choice for any defender in that situation, but Aleer was unwilling to let the Cats score again off one of his soft-drops.

The South Australian had gifted Stengle his second major of the night and allowed Geelong to level the scores after failing to secure a mark earlier in the final term.

"Spoiling did cross my mind but I knew if I spoiled it, it was just going to come back," Aleer said.

"I was pretty filthy. To see Geelong score off the back of my mistake, I just wanted to attack the footy, continue attacking the footy.

"Taking a mark felt like the right decision at the time. With that last play, I just wanted to help the team win."

Leek Aleer celebrates GWS' win over Geelong in round 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Born in Kenya to Sudanese parents before moving to Adelaide, Aleer made his debut for the Giants in 2022 after being drafted at pick No.15 in 2021.

The key defender had already established his prowess in the air after breaking the all-time draft combine record for the running vertical jump, with a leap of 107cm.

It shattered previous records set by Kyron Hayden (103cm) and Nic Naitanui (102cm).

Leek Aleer at GWS training on May 27, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Aleer's emergence has coincided with the exciting development of another defender of Sudanese origin in Mac Andrew at Gold Coast and the Giants product opened up on the bond the duo shares.

"Mac's a good mate of mine. I've been watching him closely, he's been playing some really good footy, I'm pretty proud of him. He reached out to me before the game on the weekend and said 'it's good to see you back in the side'," Aleer said.  

"A lot of the Sudanese blokes around the league are doing really well at the moment and it's a chance for all of us to continue influencing our communities. There's a large population of South Sudanese people living in Australia. To be able to help the next generation is extremely important."

"Majak Daw was one of the first (South Sudanese players) to come through. He was someone i looked up to and then Aliir Aliir came and I looked up to him and what he was doing at Sydney. I'm just pleased and humbled to be in the position I'm in and to be one of those blokes who can influence and inspire the next generation."

Leek Aleer and his family upon the announcement of his AFL debut on July 30, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Fellow defender Lachie Whitfield was not surprised as he watched Aleer flaunt his attributes against Geelong, and expects a welcomed selection headache for Kingsley when Buckley recovers from his calf injury.

"We've seen it for ages. He's been jumping over heads for a couple of years at training. It's about time," Whitfield told AAP.

"He probably should have played 30 or 40 games already if it wasn't for Sam (Taylor) and Jack being so pivotal in their role.

"It's good trouble for the coaches to have when Jack's fit, because we know Leek can do things like that, save games and take marks and ignite our offence on turnover."