West Coast ruck and Denmark product Parris Laurie joins Eagles star Nic Naitanui on Cocos Islands trip

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Nic Naitanui and Parris Laurie on a trip to the Cocos Islands.
Camera IconNic Naitanui and Parris Laurie on a trip to the Cocos Islands. Credit: West Coast Eagles

West Coast Eagles AFLW ruck Parris Laurie says her trip to the Cocos Islands and Christmas Island with Eagles star Nic Naitanui was an experience she will never forget.

The Eagles pair, who play in the same position for the men’s and women’s teams, spent eight days in November visiting the far-flung islands to the north-west of WA.

It was an enriching trip for 27-year-old Laurie, who hails from Denmark and is part of the Eagles’ AFLW leadership group.

Preparing for her fourth season of AFLW, Laurie said she jumped at the chance to spend time in the Cocos Islands and Christmas Island communities.

Nic Naitanui and Parris Laurie were a hit with the kids.
Camera IconNic Naitanui and Parris Laurie were a hit with the kids. Credit: West Coast Eagles

Laurie and Naitanui visited schools, gave presentations and ran football clinics and Auskick sessions.

“People in the Christmas Island and Cocos Islands wanted high-profile athletes to come and see the kids,” Laurie said.

“Nic was already in the plans to go and the club asked me if I’d be interested, and it was an opportunity I wouldn’t want to turn down.

“It was unbelievable and such a cool experience, the kids were well-mannered, down to earth and reminded me of country kids.

Parris Laurie and Nic Naitanui with school children on the Cocos Islands.
Camera IconParris Laurie and Nic Naitanui with school children on the Cocos Islands. Credit: West Coast Eagles

“The communities were so accommodating and welcoming and everyone is really close over there.”

Laurie, who has played 23 AFLW games, said joining forces with one of the AFL’s best players in Naitanui was a highlight.

“We talked to kids about our journey to get to where we are and the resilience you have to show,” she said.

“I knew Nic already through my brother, they played State footy together but it was great to expand our relationship and spend time with Nic and his partner Britt.

Kids from the Cocos Islands with the two Eagles’ stars.
Camera IconKids from the Cocos Islands with the two Eagles’ stars. Credit: West Coast Eagles

“It helps in our club environment and brings in that unity and the club.

“It was really good to see another side of Nic Nat, and the rumours are true, he’s an outstanding guy.”

Laurie said she had gained valuable insights on the trip.

“The ability to build a culture on those islands and help one another out stands out to me,” Laurie said.

Parris Laurie takes a selfie with an Eagles fan.
Camera IconParris Laurie takes a selfie with an Eagles fan. Credit: West Coast Eagles

“They have a really selfless way of living and it can be tough with food deliveries held up but no one has a me-first mindset, so coming back into a team environment that’s important.

“They have quite a heavy Malay population and it was really cool to embrace that culture.

“We went over to Home Island when we were on the Cocos and got some traditional food, learned about how they live and how strong their culture is.”

Eagles rucks Parris Laurie and Nic Naitanui pose for a photo.
Camera IconEagles rucks Parris Laurie and Nic Naitanui pose for a photo. Credit: West Coast Eagles

Laurie has been training with her Eagles teammates this month in preparation for their first game of the new AFLW season on January 9.

She will return home to Denmark for a few days around Christmas and then get back into full training ahead of the Eagles showdown with Brisbane in round one.

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