Over the last 12 months I’ve had some hardships and some challenges. This time last year I was in a very dark place as I was trying to find what direction I wanted to take in my life.

But I had the best support and good people around me to guide me to the right path and in small steps I got myself to where I needed to be.

Then I lost my stepfather three months ago. That was pretty hard, especially as I then had to play against China for the Matildas, when only three days prior to that I had to bury him.

He was a very important person in my life, he was there for 20 years, so that was really tough. But football was a real outlet for me at that time. It’s always been an outlet.

If I didn’t have football, well lets just say I’ll leave it at that.

My Sydney FC teammate Chloe Logarzo also lost her grandmother recently, and I am really close to Chloe, so I had to comfort a best friend while she has been comforting me.

Having the right people around you makes you appreciate them more and not take them for granted.

That was something I learnt, and having Chloe Logarzo as one of my teammates has taught me a lot about that. That’s why this season I feel like a new person and a new player.

I’ve also changed my lifestyle. I've learnt to switch off from football. In  my days off, I don’t watch football.

On those days I don’t want to know about football because I need to just enjoy the people around me and not stress about football.

That's why this season has been a lot more enjoyable.

As told to Con Stamocostas