Parris Laurie says she could not have taken her game to the next level without the help of 1994 West Coast Eagles premiership ruckman Ryan Turnbull.
The 25-year-old, who was this week named in the womens.afl Team of the Year, pieced together a fantastic 2020 season highlighted by dominant performances against Fremantle in round two and Gold Coast in round six.
Despite giving away valuable centimetres to her opponents each week, Laurie regularly gave West Coast’s midfielders the first opportunity to use the ball from centre bounces and stoppages throughout the Eagles' inaugural women's campaign.
The Denmark product credited Turnbull, the AFLW team’s ruck and key position coach, for adding some more weapons to her arsenal this year.
“It’s been a massive help having Ryan Turnbull as a ruck coach,” Laurie told SportFM.
“It has definitely changed the way that I play and it’s really helped me to learn a few more tricks to overcome that height disadvantage.
“Having variety and not always doing the same thing was big. If I can keep the other ruck guessing then I’ve kind of won that battle. Having a few more options to go to if things aren’t working; that’s the gist of it. Positioning and bodywork have been a massive part of my education.
“It’s been a lot about my ruck craft and that follow up afterward to help our mids out a bit more.”
Like the rest of the AFLW community, Laurie was gutted when she found out the 2020 season would be abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And although she saw the writing on the wall and acknowledged it was the right call, it hardly eased the pain in the immediate aftermath of the decision.
“We had a few meetings in the lead up and we kind of knew with what was happening out in the world that it was definitely a high possibility,” Laurie said.
“I think we were coming up against Carlton the next week, which was going to be a really tough game for us, but we were all pretty excited about the challenge and I think we were just all really enjoying playing together and learning how one another played. We were just starting to come together a bit better.
“It was definitely disappointing to no longer get those last two weeks to play together. Only having a six week comp after a pretty decent pre-season was disappointing as well, but there’s been a lot more happening than women’s AFL at the moment.
“I think the safety of us and the safety of everyone else (was considered). I think everyone saw the bigger picture really.”