It’s what you see from Rob Monahan with every passing training session at IKON Park. 

That’s not just in reference to his speed, but what he’s been able to produce with ball in hand in what’s his first pre-season in a new sport. It’s only the infancy of his football journey, but there’s plenty to work with.

There was the gather, shrug and left-footed goal in a recent training session - seen at the end of the video above - which drew the love of his teammates almost instantly, as did the collect, spin and right-footed assist for a teammate earlier this week.

He knows it’s a slow burn, and he’s taking it day by day. But you can tell the 19-year-old is feeling more and more comfortable in his new surrounds.

“It’s coming along. I’m learning a bit every day, I’m just trying to get games in and practice in,” Monahan told Carlton Media for the latest Friday Feature.

“I’m trying to take in as much footy as I can. It’s a bit of a change now, we’re really coming up to the business side of the pre-season.”

Players celebrate with Rob Monahan after his winning goal in match simulation in December. (Photo: Jonathan Di Maggio)

While he’s been acclimatising to a new country and new game, there’s one facet which feels familiar to Monahan. Despite most Irishmen arriving to the game and slotting across half-back, Monahan has started out as a forward.

For Monahan, who has set his first 2024 benchmark as his opening VFL game, it harkens back to his days playing Gaelic for Kerry.

“I was a bit of a forward back home — I see it as no different.

“The Irish boys generally tend to play across half-back. It’s a good challenge, I’m enjoying it.

“I’m working with Luke Power a lot: he’s been good to me, as has ‘Fog’. Showing me running patterns, defensive structures, attacking runs — I’m enjoying it so far.”

It’s not just with his football where Monahan is easing in. He has recently moved in with fellow new recruit Ashton Moir, which has - in his words - been “hectic . . . but good fun”.

Prior to that, he spent a number of months living with defender Lewis Young.

“He’s been a hero. Before I moved in with Ash, he was really good to me — he’s a good man.”

Monahan’s also doing his best to get used to his new life.

Fully aware of the irony of being “an Irish surfer”, he’s been heading down to Torquay regularly — not with Moir or Young, but rather, a very familiar face.

“My brother’s actually living here at the moment! He moved here just after the New Year.

“It was a coincidence, believe it or not. He had a lot of friends here.”

That familial link back home is a crucial one for the youngster, but he’s had plenty of support from his teammates — particularly after the news that his counterpart Matt Duffy had injured his ACL and would remain in Ireland in the months following his injury.

“It’s like a family. The boys have been great, the culture has been great — it’s really easy to come into.

“It was devastating for Matt, he’s a good lad. It’s tough to see anyone go through an injury, especially in his circumstances. He’s plugging away at home, doing his rehab and he’ll be here in no time.

“I’m sure he’ll love it too.” 

Rob Monahan and Matt Duffy arrive at the MCG prior to Carlton's elimination final against Sydney.

Monahan and Duffy were practically inseparable in the opening weeks of their move to Melbourne, getting the tour of all things Melbourne from Nick Austin and Mick Agresta.

While he admits those early stages were “surreal”, there was one particular night of that induction period which had Monahan absolutely certain that this is what he wanted to sink his teeth into.

“We got to go to the Sydney elimination final, and from there, I fell in love with it. To see 90,000 at the MCG barracking for Carlton, it was crazy.

“Just to be a little bit of a part of that, it was special. I’d love to be part of that some day.”