Western Bulldogs midfielder-forward Deanna Berry says the support of her teammates has made all the difference as she recovers from an ACL injury.

The 23-year-old ruptured her right ACL in the Bulldogs’ round five win over GWS last season, and is now nearing eight months post-surgery.

She said leaning on her peers during what has been “a challenging period” has been a huge help.  

“During the 0-6 month period (post-surgery) you can walk again, you can run, you can ride, then you kick and then you start agility, but once you hit 6-9 months it becomes really hard – this part is probably the most challenging,” Berry told westernbulldogs.com.au.

“You’re repeating everything to get comfortable in certain movements again, and need to make sure that your knee is comfortable again, so this period at the moment has probably been the toughest.

“Leaning on the girls has been very important, because motivation levels have gone down and I’m not seeing as many wins as I did early on - but making sure I’m connecting with the girls so they know where I’m at has been really helpful.”

Berry spent majority of the lockdown period rehabilitating with Club Rehab Physio Phill Danzi at his clinic in Richmond, before returning to the Kennel this preseason.

She said she is taking the recovery week by week, rather than aiming for a specific date.

“Initially I had a date in mind, but I came to the realisation that you probably just want to get it done as you can, and not have a date in mind because if that (date) shifts, your whole goal posts shift,” Berry said.

“I’m just making sure I tick off boxes as I go now, whenever I get there - I’m not rushing this process because I definitely don’t want to do my ACL again.

“I’m feeling good though – I’ve hit all my strength goals and am actually a lot stronger than what I was pre-surgery.

“I’m feeling really strong and mobile at the moment, but it’s just the nitty gritty stuff like agility that takes a while to get control of.”