WHEN Nicole Schneider got her first taste of rugby league it was as a prop with ball playing skills, now as the Panorama Platypi aim for back-to-back premierships she has a six on her back.
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In what has proved to be a tactical masterstroke from experienced league coach Kevin Grimshaw, shifting Schneider into five-eighth has been a huge positive for the Platypi opens.
In Saturday's 44-6 Western Women's Rugby League semi-final win over the Vipers at Carrington Park, Schneider had two try assists as part of an all-round solid display.
Her time spent in the forwards means Schneider doesn't hesitate to take on the line, while she's also strong defensively.
Then the ball playing skills which made her dangerous in the forwards have developed even further now she's had a chance to be first receiver.
"I was very hesitant to start with, I'd never played there [five-eighth], never. I played front row my first year and then I was lock," she said.
"Kev threw me in six with no warning and I was very hesitant, but I thought I'd have a go, I tried to be very open minded about it.
"I'm very lucky I've got good runners on either side of me."
Like many of her current team-mates, the Platypi and WWRL competition offered Schneider her first opportunity to play rugby league.
She's only had one season off since she started as she very quickly developed a passion for the 13-a-side code.
Schneider has also soaked up every bit of knowledge her team-mates and coaches have had to offer.
"We're very thankful, we're lucky we've got Kev and then Johnny [Griffiths] and Boothy [Mark Booth] as well. Also Kurt Hancock, he's helped us out too," she said.
"We're really fortunate we've got good coaches to help us out."
At half-time in Saturday's decider the Platypi held a narrow 10-6 lead over the Vipers. But in the sheds Grimshaw issued simple directions.
"We spoke about our defence, it was working but we just needed to commit a bit more, especially in the middle, and then off that we were hoping to roll on with our attack," Schneider said.
"We also spoke our momentum and how we had to move forward before we moved sideways."
Moving forward was exactly what Schneider did when finding the ball in her hands in the first set of the second half.
She sliced straight through the Vipers and while she probably would've scored herself, offloaded to centre Meredith Jones.
"I didn't have the energy to dive, the last 20 metres were tough," Schneider laughed.
"I looked both sides and my last look I saw Mez and I thought I'd pass to her."
That made it 16-6 but the Vipers then had the ball for five of the next six sets. The Platypi held them out.
"We defended our line for a good 10 minutes, that's when it changed, the momentum definitely shifted then," Schneider said.
After absorbing that pressure the Platypi broke the shackles and Schneider again created plenty in attack.
She set up the try which sealed the 44-6 win in the dying minutes, taking on the line then getting away a brilliant pass to speedster Tiana Anderson.
Not bad for a former prop.
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