With several of the Matildas breaking into the European soccer market last year, goalkeeper Lydia Williams says the move benefits the national side and gives them some insider tips heading into the Tokyo Olympics.
Williams was one of several national team players to sign for a European club last season, after joining Arsenal.
Despite Australian players having individual success with their European clubs, questions have followed the Matildas ahead of the games due to two losses last month.
The side lost 5-2 to second ranked Germany and had a 5-0 loss to the third ranked Netherlands days later.
The 33-year-old goalkeeper said the game was different in Europe due to the technical aspect, compared to the W-League and the American NWSL - a path many Australians took until 2020.
"With our last game, it was obviously a test to see where we're at. I think that was the most important thing for us to really establish that we need more time.
"It's nice to be in Europe because we've actually playing against people and teams that we face at major tournaments. So it's nice to get a vibe of their professionalism and their talent and secretly that maybe when we play against them, you can get some secrets and tips," she joked.
At the 2016 Olympics, the side made it to the top eight but went down in a penalty shootout to Brazil in the quarter-final.
Williams said the side were keeping an open mind heading into Tokyo and had not set any expectations yet.
"We're going in with no real expectations and just a lot of hard work," she said.
"It's a new chapter for our team, new coach, different kind of world, and we're just going to go in and perform the best that we can.
"It's going to be tough but I mean we're up for the challenge we always are, so it's just how we prepare for these games."
Heading into her second Olympics, she said it was always a privilege and pleasure to represent Australia.
"The Olympics is a place that I think is needed right now, there's a platform that's needed to kind of unite the whole world in sport, and I think the Olympics is a perfect platform for it," she said.
"It will be very different but I think, honestly, just the amount of people that tune in and support your country, no matter what sport it is, I think that's really kind of a great way to lift everyone's spirits."
Like many Australian athletes competing overseas, Williams has not seen her family in more than a year due to COVID-19.
Having covered many kilometres during her professional career, from the United States to England, she said she had gotten used to being away from home but it did not make it any easier.
"We obviously haven't gotten home in quite a long time, because of Covid, so that's probably the hardest aspect of it," she said.
"You kind of get used to it but it doesn't make it any easier, but you get used to the feeling and know how to deal with it a little bit better."
The Matildas will play two more friendlies later this month in the lead up to the games, facing Denmark and Olympic group rivals Sweden.
The Matildas face Denmark on June 11 at 2am and take on Sweden, June 16 at 2.45am.