Western Bulldogs skipper Bob Murphy is ready to take the next step in his recovery from a knee reconstruction when the reigning premiers hit the training track on Monday.
Murphy underwent knee surgery in April after he ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament against Hawthorn in round three.
The 34-year-old missed the Dogs’ drought-breaking grand final win over Sydney but is well-placed to start his 18th AFL pre-season program after working through a lengthy individual recovery plan.
“The best way to answer that is that I forget about my knee (when I’m training) at the moment,” Murphy replied when asked about his progress on Thursday.
“I’m back into almost full training and feeling healthy and strong … I’m ready to get into another campaign.
“It’s always fun to be part of the pack … it’s never much fun to be in rehab. It’s probably the longest pre-season in the history of the game … it’s been going since (April).
“It will be nice to pull the boots on again.”
The Dogs’ first-to-fourth-year players started training this week and will be joined by the rest of the squad on Monday.
The skipper will still be held back from contact drills, but should join the main group around Christmas.
Murphy’s return will be a significant boost for the Bulldogs as they attempt to claim the third premiership flag in the club’s history.
“After 62 years you build up quite a hunger and one premiership isn’t going to do it in terms of satisfying that hunger,” he said.
“I’ll be pushing the boys along to stay hungry for more wins and more success.
“Off the back of last year there should be a lot of momentum.”
Murphy spoke to reporters from Seaspray on the Victorian east coast in his role as an ambassador for the Gippsland Carnival – a new greyhound racing event that will incorporate four country cups.