Like many cross-coders, Irishwoman Aisling Curley made the move to Australia not knowing a whole lot about Aussie Rules.

After being accepted into the inaugural AFLW rookie camp last October, the 24-year-old was given just two weeks to pack up her life in Ireland and board a plane bound for Australia.

“I was drawn to a new challenge and it was an exciting prospect to travel to the other side of the world,” Curley told

“I didn’t really know what my chances would be but I thought I’d come over and give it a go anyway.”

The Gaelic Football convert was one of 12 female Irish cross-coders who headed to Australia in search of a spot on an AFLW list.

With recent signings of rookie camp graduates Aisling McCarthy, Yvonne Bonner as well as Collingwood’s newest recruit Aishling Sheridan, Curley said the interest in AFLW back in Ireland is constantly growing. 

“It’s exciting that Australian clubs are willing to take a chance on Irish girls and give us the opportunity to just come here and see what it’s all about,” Curley said.

Despite the difficulties of leaving her family behind, Curley admitted she was excited to start a new adventure in the land down under.

“I’ve always wanted to come to Australia regardless of whether I was going to play football or not.                                           

“In some ways it’s a lot different to Ireland but there’s a lot of similarities between the two as well which has helped me adapt to life here.”

Following the camp, Curley said it was crucial for her to find a club that would provide the guidance and support that she needed to develop as a player.

“My greatest fear in making such a big move was that I would be stuck on my own in this sport that I didn’t really know a lot about.

“What really drew me to Collingwood was the focus on development and their clear plan for the future of its athletes which showed me that they truly look after their players,” she said.

Since first stepping foot in the Holden Centre earlier this year, Curley has taken the field for six of Collingwood’s seven games in the season so far.

Providing great speed and evasive moves through the midfield, she even managed to boot her first VFLW goal in round two.  

In making her transition over to the sport, Curley said she’s been inspired by the passion of Collingwood’s VFLW coach Penny Cula-Reid that has motivated her to improve week by week.

“Penny wants you to be the best you can be which is amazing and I’ve honestly felt I’ve been given that direction and guidance to develop as a player particularly from her.”

Having lived in Melbourne for around ten months now, Curley feels settled in Australia alongside the support of her new family at the Pies and is glad she can call Australia home.

“I feel I have a good balance between work, training and playing matches and both the coaches and my teammates have given me great encouragement.

“I think it’s difficult for my parents to understand that I don’t see myself moving back to Ireland,” she laughed.