Arden Street is already feeling like home for Aileen Gilroy.
The fleet-footed Irishwoman has made the most of her time since committing to the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos, and if her performance in match simulation is anything to go by, looks well-suited to the Australian game.
“It’s definitely different. It was a lot harder, especially at the start,” Gilroy told North Media.
“At first, I struggled with the bounce of the ball, you just don't know where it’s going to go. I’ve definitely improved. It’s not one hundred per cent yet ... hopefully by Round 1 it will be.”
The 27-year-old former Gaelic Footballer made an instant impact against Collingwood, turning heads with her line-breaking run out of defence.
As the countdown towards the season proper continues, Gilroy is determined to further her development.
“The coaches said I did really well coming out from the backline,” she explained.
“They went through my positives and the areas I need to grow in. Even though it’s nice to hear the positives, for me personally it’s all about the growth.
“If I can do that then I'm doing my job over here, and that’s what I’m aiming to do.”
Since arriving in Australia, Gilroy has worked closely with North’s medical staff, who have provided insight with her continued rehabilitation from second ACL rebuild.
The time spent with industry experts has proven to be invaluable.
“I knew it was going to be professional when I came over, (but) it’s definitely a shock for me,” Gilroy said.
“Everything from the stats, to the data you’re given and even the recovery. It’s so good to be involved in it.
“The medical staff have been nothing but excellent, I actually can’t even talk about it enough.
“My knee hasn't felt this strong since I did it the first time. It’s just been amazing.”
Despite the significant strides Gilroy has taken in recent months, having the support of fellow Irishwoman, teammate Mairead Seoighe and living with other players from her home country has made the change a lot easier.
“I suppose with me living with the Irish girls here, it has really helped,” she said.
“My sister is living over here as well, I feel like I’m actually at home. There’s 11 hours difference between here and Ireland, but it’s actually fine.
“The city itself is so pretty, I’m actually loving it. There’s everything on your doorstep, which is really nice compared to back home where I live out in the country.
“You could go home after a really bad training session, but I know I can come home and talk to the girls, who have experienced the exact same thing.
“It’s nice to be able to get that off your chest, and know you're not alone. Having the Irish girls with me makes things so much easier.”