Ash Brazill is prepared to bide her time.

As the Collingwood star continues the gruelling recovery from a heartbreaking ACL injury sustained in February, Brazill could be forgiven for turning her attentions towards to a possible round one return in 2021.

However, such is the way with ACL injuries, patience is key. And in a year where Brazill has been forced to rehab from the significant long-term injury throughout a global pandemic, it's something she now has in abundance.

"I don't think I'll be back for round one, we're ruling that out," Brazill told

"I'm only eight months post-operation. It feels like I'm about 12 months in, but I'm not.

"Until I can get through all of these training sessions and test my body at 100 percent game intensity – and I'm assuming they'd want to play me through the VFLW first – that's why we're going to rule out round one.

"(Round one) is the goal anyway, but as much as I would like to the physio isn't giving me any vibe that it's going to happen."

As Collingwood fell to a strong North Melbourne side by just two points in its first ever AFLW finals appearance last season, Brazill watched from the sidelines with a strange feeling of content.

Yes, she would have desperately loved to have been out there helping her teammates. But not allowing her mind to wander to 'what could have been?' has been crucial to her staying focused while with the rehab group.

"It's a tough one, because we were playing so well," Brazill said.

"It was actually quite enjoyable to watch it. I was really proud of the girls. But it's always tough, if you're injured or you're sick. It's always tough not being able to be out there.

"I never really put myself in that position to be upset about it. At that stage, I'd just had surgery and I was in a fair bit of pain. I knew that no matter what, there was no way I'd be able to be out there.

"I probably never really reflected on that until recently, when they're training and I feel like I'm able to get out there again but they're still pulling me out. That's probably been the hardest thing."

But Brazill is confident last year's finals debut won't be Collingwood's last post-season appearance while she's with the Magpies. The team has a young group, kept its core together throughout the recent Trade Period, and is set for more improvement in 2021. 

"Watching a few of the younger girls grow up and take on leadership positions … they've been able to step up in their own game as well, which has been really nice to watch," Brazill said.

"To be part of that and to integrate a bit of my netball leadership into football has been really nice as well.

"I'm super excited for this year, because I think we're in with a really good shot. If we get our game plan right, look out. There will be exciting times ahead."