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THERE is no place like home for Fremantle recruit Katie-Jayne Grieve, but the speedy midfielder believes she has grown as a person and athlete as a result of her Carlton stint.
The Blues secured the raw 21-year-old in the 2017 rookie draft after she finished runner-up in South Bunbury's best and fairest award in her first full season of Australian Football.
Although leaving home for the first time was a leap into the unknown and moving to Melbourne away from family and friends wasn't easy, it was an experience Grieve doesn't regret.
"It was definitely a massive sacrifice, but I wouldn't change it for the world," Grieve told AFL.com.au.
"It was just an amazing experience going (to Melbourne) and living a different lifestyle.
"It was tough, but it was a good mental test and a growing opportunity individually.
"(Becoming) an athlete has definitely changed who I was before to who I am now. I’m definitely a lot more grounded and a bit more disciplined.
"I had a great support network at the club, which got me through."
Grieve played two games for the Blues last season, but decided to return to Western Australia and try her luck getting on to Fremantle’s list as a free agent.
After dominating the WAWFL for the Peel Thunderbirds and winning the club champion award during winter, she filled the Dockers' last available spot.
If there was a word to sum up her first pre-season in purple, it's "comfortable".
"I feel really at home, which is what I wanted. That's what I was missing over there. I've definitely picked that vibe up here," Grieve said.
"I love it. It's hard, it's tough. But that's the way it should be. We're playing in the middle of summer and need to be ready for it."
Grieve, who has a basketball background and is balancing football and studying personal training, will bring a hard edge to the Dockers.
Her tenacity hasn't gone unnoticed, and her pace and aggression will complement a powerful engine room led by skipper Kara Donnellan and, hopefully, returning star Kiara Bowers.
"I've always loved contact sport," Grieve said.
"Basketball wasn't hard enough for me, I don't think, but there were no football opportunities down there (Western Australia’s south-west) when I was growing up.
"I probably get my hardness from my parents. They're pretty strong-headed."
With Fremantle’s season opener against the Demons in Melbourne on February 3 ticking closer, Grieve is growing more excited about pulling on purple for the first time before hopefully playing at Fremantle Oval against the Lions in round two.
Her only disappointment since joining the Dockers was when Fremantle was drawn in the opposite conference to Carlton, robbing her of the chance to face her former teammates.
"I got ripped off there," Grieve said with a laugh.