SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Robert Murphy of the Bulldogs celebrates during the 2016 AFL First Preliminary Final match between the GWS Giants and the Western Bulldogs at Spotless Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy will begin pre-season training on Monday, as he takes the next step in his recovery from the knee injury which kept him out of his side’s drought breaking premiership win last season.

Murphy tragically went down in the dying moments of the Bulldogs’ Round 3 loss to Hawthorn, before the Dogs embarked on a thrilling finals campaign later that season, beating more fancied opponents each week of the finals, before defeating the Swans in the big dance last month.

However, the 34-year-old looks set to be fit for Round 1 next season, after getting through the lengthy ACL recovery program.

“The best way to answer that is that I forget about my knee (when I’m training) at the moment,” Murphy said when quizzed on his progress.

“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.”

Murphy will still be unable to join his teammates for drills, but should be given the all clear for physical contact after Christmas.

“Apart from the competitive footy stuff, I won’t do that until after Christmas, but everything else, I’ll just be another bare bum in the shower,” Murphy said.

The Western Bulldogs’ first to fourth year players returned to training this week, with the remainder of the playing group set to return on Monday.