Changing clubs at senior level is never easy. You get thrown out of your comfort zone into a brand-new environment with different teammates, coaches, facilities and staff.

And for Atu Bosenavulagi, learning an unfamiliar on-field role was added to his list of challenges upon his arrival at North Melbourne.

A move into the back line was touted in pre-season for Bosenavulagi, with the athletic wingman not just accepting the challenge of a positional change, but thriving in his new, defensive role.

He says he’s been working to make the most of a COVID-interrupted VFL season to hone his craft.

“I definitely think it’s very important to get those games in the VFL, and I feel like I might’ve made the team earlier if there were more VFL games,” Bosenavulagi told North Media.

“Obviously there were weeks the competition was pushed back, and I didn’t have games to prove myself. It was hard to stay mentally involved and keep getting fitter and better without playing.

“Getting those games were really important in helping me learn this role and get back into the side after a few weeks out.”

Despite a move into the back line, Bosenavulagi managed to sneak forward to kick his first senior goal on the weekend, bursting down the wing and slotting the major from 45m out at Blundstone Arena.

While he sees himself as a defender now, he says it’s important to keep that versatility that makes him such an asset in the wide areas of the ground.

“The coaches have me at half back but they do put me forward sometimes. They’re trying to build my confidence at half back as I continue to learn the role and get more games in the position,” he said.

“Kicking that goal was a great feeling. It was just emotional and I hadn’t really planned anything, but I enjoyed every bit of it. The boys got around me after the goal and even after the game as well.

“It was glad to get that first goal at AFL level, it was a really great moment.”

Pre-game and pre-training preparation varies from player to player, and it can take years for players to zone in on what works best for them in order to make the most of themselves.

Bosenavulagi is still just 20 years of age, with the young defender still in the early stages of what is hopefully a long and successful football career.

He says a change in his preparation has been the catalyst for his strong performances in recent weeks.

“I’m paying much more attention to detail in my training and what I do with my extras,” he said.

“I’ve been doing more extras over the last two weeks and mentally I’m trying to improve my preparation going into games.

“I want the coaches to trust me every week to perform and that I know my role back to front … I want to cement my spot in the team.

“Gaining that trust fully is my goal in the coming games, and it’s been my goal since I came back into the team against Carlton.”