RETURNING from an ACL injury is not a new experience for star midfielder Brianna Davey, but this time around she is armed with a new-found confidence.
In her time at Carlton, Davey was felled by her first long-term knee injury in round two, 2018, and with plenty of hard work made her return to AFLW in 359 days to start the 2019 season. Everything was new, somewhat frightening, and time was not on Davey's side.
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So, when the captain of Collingwood went to ground after a shift in direction in January last year and the worst was confirmed, while devastated, she was also better equipped to make her way back to her best once again.
"This is my second knee, so for me, I feel like it's if it was my first time, I might have had sort of more of those doubts creeping in and whatnot," Davey told womens.afl.
"But I think because it is my second one, and I sort of know what to expect, I'm not as nervous. I feel like I got back to my best footy after my first one, so I'm confident I can do it again."
One quick reminder that Davey didn't just get back to her best footy after the first one, but became one of the best players in the competition led to a somewhat embarrassed laugh from the star, before moving on.
"I think the fact that I'll get a full pre-season, that will be really good. The first time I did my knee, it was bang on 12 months and I was into round one," she says.
"Whereas now I'm just past 12 months, and I've got potentially, just say it's August again, I've got a fair bit of time, so it's good."
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With the unexpected season shift to August last year, Davey was automatically ruled out of season seven, which was both a blessing and a curse.
"I guess there were pros and cons to it," Davey said.
"I had time sort of not just to get my knee right, but also get really fit for the season. But in saying that, ideally, it would have been nice to you know, not miss the two seasons."
Instead of playing, she spent the season on the bench in a loose role liaising between coaches and players in game. Wanting to focus on supporting her teammates, it was a nice distraction for Davey, keeping her engaged in footy in an active way.
While Davey hasn't ruled out a future in coaching down the track, that is far from her mind right now.
"I've put my eggs into the basket of just playing and doing what I can throughout my playing career, but potentially, potentially coaching one day," she said.
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Alongside teammate Britt Bonnici, who also suffered an ACL injury last year, Davey spent Monday morning in Sydney undergoing Pitch Ready testing as the pair concentrate on doing everything right on their road back to the AFLW.
And the likely impact of the duo's return has Collingwood fans salivating.
Across her time at the Pies, Davey averages 22.3 disposals, 2.7 inside 50s and 4.7 clearances and alongside Bonnici and some handy new recruits, will help the club improve on its semi-final exit last season.