Star Pie recruit attacking 2020 with 'all guns blazing'

THE CONTRAST between Bri Davey's preparation for this AFLW season and her limited pre-season last year is as stark as the black and white stripes she now wears.

The former Carlton captain is in her first pre-season with Collingwood after a sensational club switch in April, but with her reconstructed right knee continuing to gain strength she expects to be primed to attack the season with "all guns blazing".

She's also bullish about the Magpies' prospects under new coach Steve Symonds, declaring they "absolutely" boast the talent to jump from wooden spooners to finals contention.

Nine months ago, Davey wasn't as sure of herself as she'd typically been during her decorated multi-sport career.

FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game

Entering her third AFLW season with Carlton, and her second as skipper, Davey was returning after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament 12 months earlier in round two of the 2018 season.

No one expected the former Australian soccer goalkeeper to immediately reproduce the form that won her the Blues' best and fairest award and All-Australian selection in the competition's inaugural season in 2017, but high-performance machines like Davey aren't accustomed to mediocrity, regardless of the circumstances.

Bri Davey won the best captain award in 2019

She was understandably rusty and short of match fitness and was initially used predominantly in attack, rather than around the ball or in defence, just to get her through games.

After she blew away the cobwebs she returned to being the Bri Davey we knew: explosive, irrepressible, influential. She claimed her second best and fairest award, tying with teammate Madison Prespakis, and led the Blues into their first AFLW Grand Final.

Many things are different this time around for Davey. Chief among them, of course, is that she's now at Collingwood. 

WHY I LEFT CARLTON Davey explains big move

She's also in considerably better shape to attack the season, with her reconstructed knee almost back to its previous state after she was a key performer in the Magpies' VFLW premiership campaign.

"Touch wood, the knee's going well. Since coming back I haven't really had any problems with it, luckily. It's getting stronger all the time," Davey told womens.afl during the second week of pre-season training.

"In my first two games back last season I was just feeling the game out a bit and it took me the first few rounds to get into the swing of it and hit form.

"Hopefully this season I'll be able to go in all guns blazing and 100 per cent in form and ready to go from round one."

Davey, who will turn 25 in January – just weeks before the Magpies' season-opener against new team West Coast at Victoria Park – said the move to the Holden Centre had been a challenge, mainly because it was just a different environment, but that it had so far been an enjoyable and rewarding experience that had never given her cause to regret her decision.

Having a season-long dress rehearsal with the club's VFLW team had proved an "awesome" benefit for Davey because it enabled her to establish "really strong connections" with some of her AFLW teammates.

Those teammates in turn benefited from Davey's obvious leadership qualities, which have also had such a significant effect on the AFLW group that she has been named vice-captain.

FOLLOW THE LEADER Your club's 2020 captain and leadership group

Leadership is a way of life for Davey, who has just completed the third year of a four-year teaching course and, through the Magpies, has started her coaching career in the girls' football program at Box Hill Senior Secondary College.

Although she can play at either end, and probably will at times, Davey will predominantly be used around the ball to showcase her strength and ball-winning ability.

"Collingwood has lacked in the contested possession area and part of the reason I came to Collingwood was to help with that because it's one of my strengths," she said.