LUKE Towey's first experience with a Sherrin, only a matter of months ago, required some refinement.
After being identified for his athletic potential, the 19-year-old was given an AFL ball to take back to his house in Sligo, on the west coast of Ireland.
At first, his kicking skills weren't up to scratch, even according to his mother.
"It was horrendous. I was kicking it outside and it'd be bouncing off the wall, hitting windows and everything," Towey said.
"My mother would be coming out going mad. We have a wall at my house and it's that pebbledash, and my mum would come out and say 'Stop knocking the stones off the wall!' I'd have to get the brush out after and clean it up."
Things have improved a fair stretch since then for the young Gaelic player.
Over the past week, Towey has been in Melbourne alongside three other Irish hopefuls – Ronan Devereux, Peadar Mogan and Ross McQuillan – trying to impress AFL clubs to land a place on a list as an international rookie.
The prospects were standouts with their athleticism and ball-handling in Dublin at last year's Irish Combine, which was watched over by AFL scouts and led by former Collingwood player Marty Clarke.
Since landing in Australia, they have trained with the NAB AFL Academy under-18 and under-17 squads, and also toured Richmond, Carlton, Essendon and Collingwood.
They have been interviewed by North Melbourne, the Bombers and Tigers, with those clubs keeping an eye on their progress.
The group leaves for home on Sunday, and Towey said his skills had improved significantly after the camp.
"Six or seven months ago I wouldn't have ever thought this was going to happen," he said.
"But I kept going to sessions after being invited to Dublin for the Draft Combine, and kept training. Every time I went down to the Gaelic pitch I'd bring my round ball and my footy as well."
There are already a record 14 Irishmen on AFL lists this season after six were signed last season, and Towey wants to be among the next batch.
"I really want to get onto an AFL list and make a career. I'm 100 per cent on it. I am completely determined to come over here and haver a long career," he said.
"The last few days I've fallen in love with the game and getting the chance to come out here and follow the culture and the comradery between the teams. I have absolutely loved it and I don't want it to end."