MELBOURNE ruck Lauren Pearce took her game to another level in 2019.
She came second in Melbourne's best and fairest voting, won the Lambert-Pearce Medal for the best player in the VFLW competition and was named in the 2019 Virgin Australia AFL Women's All Australian team.
Pearce credits her rise to the change in her approach to training over the past year.
Spending more time with the midfield group and working on general skills rather than ruck craft has helped Pearce find more of the football and become a threat everywhere around the ground.
"Despite her height, she's quite versatile at ground level," Melbourne coach Mick Stinear told womens.afl.
"She's another midfielder at ground level.
"Throughout this year in particular she's worked really hard on the technical part of her game."
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Pearce has self-belief in her game, but she's not complacent and strives to get better every season.
Adelaide's Jess Foley is the opposition ruck that gives her the most trouble, with her agility being the standout trait.
"I don't know if she's underrated, I just think she (Foley) should have made the team of the year over me," Pearce said.
Pearce is aiming to be more aggressive and consistent quarter-to-quarter this season.
"You have some games where you play really well, some halves where you play really well. And then there's some halves where you just go, 'Shit, what was I doing?'"
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If Pearce can stay engaged mentally throughout the whole year, the Demons will be one step closer to winning the Grand Final – a goal that's firmly on the radar.
Another key aspect of that title challenge will be adding superstar Daisy Pearce back into the midfield after the birth of her twins Sylvie and Roy.
"She's (Daisy Pearce) worked her arse off to come back," Lauren Pearce said.
"She may not play as well as she hopes to, but I think just having the leadership around will definitely help."
The gun ruck doesn't think it will take long for her teammate to get into the swing of things, but says the entire club is excited to have her back.
"Everyone's willing to listen to what she has to say," Lauren Pearce said.
"Everyone's embraced her children, she's got extra aunties now."
The Demons will be tested instantly, with their first match against North Melbourne at Casey Fields on Saturday, February 8.