LISTEN: Who's the 'other' Steve helping Pie improve her game?

COLLINGWOOD rebounding defender Ruby Schleicher has come on in leaps and bounds this year, and she credits the help of her coach.

No, not Steve Symonds, but Steve Schleicher.

The Pie returned home to Perth following the conclusion of the 2020 NAB AFLW season - and took full advantage of the COVID-19 break.

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"My dad is a main driving point for me, and he's pretty much my second coach. Actually, he's my first coach, Steve (Symonds) is my second coach," Schleicher told Credit to the Girls.

"You won't catch him running. We live right across from the footy oval of my junior club, Willetton, and we headed over there a lot over COVID and had a kick. 

"He's a harsh critic of mine … and every game of mine this year, he will go back and watch it four or five times. He'll watch it that day, he'll watch it a second time, he probably won't sleep until he's watched it again. 

"He's the first person I'll ring after the game to get a gauge on what he thought. It's always a bit [nerve-wracking], when there's games when I didn't do too much, and it's a bit like, 'what's he going to say?'. 

"But he's very honest with me, which is good, and it drives me. He's the first to give me praise when I deserve it."

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Schleicher is averaging 14.9 disposals this year, up from 5.5 in an injury-affected 2020 and 6.0 the year prior.

"I feel like I've always had it in me to play good footy, but I was really disappointed in my first four years," she said.

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"I knew I had the skill to do it, but I didn't allow myself to do it through the right nutrition, getting myself fit enough, an unlucky run with injuries last year. 

"I probably saw myself in that Freo game last year – the one full game I got to play before injury last year – that I can do it and I can be a good player at this level. I just needed the tools to do it. 

"I think it comes with age as well. I was 18 when I first started, I was one of the youngest to be drafted, and you're not thinking about too many factors that come into play to play good footy. 

"I'm just happy I'm able to come out and finally show what I can do, be damaging for my team and pay back to the club what they've been investing in me the last four years."

EPISODE GUIDE

1.20 – Freo's incredible comeback headlines the moment for round seven
3.45 – Is a young Demon leading the NAB AFL Women's Rising Star race? Plus a full round seven wrap
7.47 – Cathy Svarc is staking her claim as the best tagger in the game
9.45 – The Agenda: Will Geelong coach Paul Hood feel the heat after another heavy loss?
14.30 – Magpie Ruby Schleicher joins the show on her 23rd birthday
17.23 – Schleicher deconstructs the Pies' first loss for the season
22.25 – How has Schleicher improved her game?
25.47 – The Pies' "bunch of weirdos"
29.00 – Compare and contrast: Fremantle and Melbourne's forward lines
32.00 – Previewing round eight's games
35.20 – Game to watch: Brisbane v North Melbourne

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