Lions draftee Ruby Blair has always been a competitor, just ask her older brother Miller. Whatever Miller would do, Ruby wanted to do it too.
When Miller decided he was going to build a tree house with a plank between branches, Ruby was inspired to build a much larger ‘tree palace’ out of bamboo.
“I guess I’ve always loved to prove that I could do it,” said Blair.
The Brisbane Lions have Miller to thank, in a roundabout way, because if he hadn’t decided he wanted to play footy, then maybe Ruby might not have followed him to the Palm Beach Currumbin Lions Juniors.
“I think that’s why I started playing footy in the first place, all the way back when I was four, is that my brother was playing and I wanted to show him that I could too,“ she said.
“He’s probably been the biggest influence on my footy, my brother, because I just wanted to be like him growing up, he was my biggest idol.
“Now he’s probably my biggest supporter.”
The same competitive nature reared its head when Ruby read an article online with descriptions of all the new AFLW draftees.
“It described me as small. That was it. That was all I got. Small,” she said.
“I certainly am a little bit motivated to just get out there and I guess prove that my height hasn’t been an issue for me so far in footy and I have no intensions of letting it become one.
“I’d rather come in with something to prove, rather than a reputation to uphold if that makes sense.”
When it comes to contested ball, Ruby is a self-described Pitbull and loves the tough stuff, making her an ideal addition to the Lions midfield where she can use her kicking smarts going inside 50. Throughout 2017 however, Ruby has played a lot of footy off half back, using her reliable boot to set up the game. The experience has been invaluable and has given her the type of flexibility required at the elite level.
“I do play some of my best footy across the half back line, because it gives me the ability to read the play and set up the team going forward,” said Blair.
“Hopefully (I can) work on that tank and push into the midfield, because that’s is where I love playing.”
Just talking about the upcoming AFLW season lights a fire in the belly. Part of it is the prospect of being able to play alongside and against some of her AFLW heroes.
“I’m just really excited to go up against those other contested beasts of the competition like Ellie Blackburn from the Doggies and Daisy Pearce from Melbourne,” said 2017’s pick 41.
“That’s probably the one that I’m most looking forward to, is lining up against someone of Daisy Pearce’s caliber.”
While the 2018 NAB AFL Women’s Fixture is still yet to be announced, this young Lion has a point to prove and is counting down the days.
Position: Midfielder/Small Defender
Recruited from: Coolangatta Tweed Football Club
By Sean Melrose