Undersized Docker up for daunting task in the ruck

FREMANTLE'S Parris Laurie has learnt plenty as an undersized ruck in her first NAB AFL Women's season, and she will reach deep into her toolkit to nullify dominant Geelong opponent Megan Hoare on Saturday.

The Dockers have identified the Cats' powerful engine room as a significant threat at GMHBA Stadium in a crucial clash for both sides.

Fremantle needs to win to keep pressure on Conference A leaders Adelaide and North Melbourne, while Conference B leader Geelong can all but lock up a finals berth in the penultimate round.

Basketball convert Laurie, 24, has been a shining light for the Dockers and, with help from Alicia Janz, has a huge job ahead competing with ex-netballer Erin Hoare.

At 194cm, Hoare is 16cm taller than Laurie and the big Cat averages more than double the Docker's hit-outs (24.5 to 12) this season.

But Laurie has the edge around the ground, averaging 9.4 disposals to Hoare's 4.8, and is a strong support for star midfielders Kara Donnellan, Kiara Bowers and Dana Hooker.

"I think I'm going to have to keep changing it up and see what works for me (against Hoare in the ruck). I won't really know until I'm out there," Laurie told womens.afl.

"But I've got a few things in mind that I'll try out and see how it goes but once again I'll try to get around the ground and be a fourth midfielder. Hopefully that will be a strength for us."

The Dockers, who rank second for points scored (252), are coming up against the AFLW's equal-stingiest defence, but will back their high-scoring brand to get the job done.

A showdown with North Melbourne looms as a virtual elimination final if the Dockers can overcome the Cats, but Trent Cooper's squad is staying focused on getting the points in Geelong.

"They've got some girls who are quite strong out of the middle, so it's going to be a matter of trying to shut them down," Laurie said.

"But I think it's more a matter of making sure we're bringing our strengths and playing our best footy.

"If we're on and our strengths are powering through, then we'll do OK."

After taking so much on board from her first five games, Laurie doesn't want the season to end.

The high school physical education teacher is growing in confidence by the week and daring to dream of a fairytale finals run.

"It's been a massive learning curve … you can't be a one-trick pony and you've got to keep changing it up, depending on who you're up against," she said.

"I've learnt quite a bit now and starting to put it in place, but we've only got two (home and away) games left.

"I've been trying not to think about it (finals) too much and concentrate on the next game, but it would be absolutely unreal.

"It would definitely be a bucket-list tick. Two weeks and we'll see."