Adelaide midfielder Harry Schoenberg was dealt a heartbreaking blow during the side’s final game of 2023.

After stringing together a consistent run of form during the previous five games, Schoenberg ruptured his Achilles in the fourth quarter of the Round 24 clash against West Coast.

Despite the initial disappointment and the likelihood of rehab being a six-to-nine month process, Schoenberg has focused on attacking it with a positive mindset.

“It’s (rehab) going really good, everything is tracking very well,” Schoenberg told AFC Media.

“I’m moving around a lot more comfortably now, building up the strength in my calf and getting my range back.

“The main thing I try to do is be happy and up and about, that’s what I’ve tried to maintain the whole way through and not get disconnected.

“That’s been my main focus - having a clear goal and plan - but then enjoying it, even though it can be hard.”

“The main thing I try to do is be happy and up and about, that’s what I’ve tried to maintain the whole way through.

Being in the rehab group has, however, given Schoenberg a chance to add some size to his frame - a goal he wanted to achieve.

“I still remember being in the moon boot and it’s been ages since then, now, so once you put your mind to it and put your head down and start working, it goes quickly,” Schoenberg said.

“I was in the gym a lot in the off-season, I was able to put on 3kg of pure muscle mass, which was good.

“That was my main goal, to put on a bit of muscle gain.

“Now I am still continuing to build on my calf strength with a lot of calf raises and I’m looking at hopefully running in the next couple of weeks, first on the alter gravity machine, then hopefully get back out on the track - that’s exciting and what I’m looking forward to.”

Schoenberg says he can still remember the moment he sustained the injury.

But he did not think too much of it until the club doctor explained to him what he had done.

“I remember receiving a handball and it felt like someone had stepped on the back of my calf and I sort of felt pins and needles run up my calf,” Schoenberg said.

“It didn’t really hurt, which is the interesting thing, because it’s meant to be pretty painful, but I didn’t really feel too much pain.

“I got up and tried to walk it off but I couldn’t put any weight on it.

“As soon as I came off to the bench, the doctor asked what happened and I said ‘I think someone stepped on me’, but the (Club) doctor knew straight away, he saw the vision and there was no one near me.”

After spending a night in WA with his teammates following the win against the Eagles, Schoenberg flew back to Adelaide and had scans, which confirmed the injury, and then had surgery the following week.

Post-surgery, he returned to his family farm in Marrabel in the Mid North and rested, before beginning his rehab.

“It all happened pretty quickly, which was a good thing, getting it done,” Schoenberg said.

“I had surgery and then went back to the farm, stayed there for a couple of weeks and had mum looking after me, which was good.

“Being told what it was straight away sort of removed a bit of the anxiety, it was obviously upsetting hearing the news, but I’m glad I was told before the scans confirmed it.”

As he continues preparation to run for the first time post-injury, Schoenberg says his long-term goal is to get back to playing competitive footy and is buoyed by what his teammates have produced so far this pre-season.

“My short-term goal is obviously to get back running on the track, then my long-term goal is to get back playing a game first, then to try and get back into the AFL team,” Schoenberg said.

“All the boys had a really good off-season and came back looking a lot stronger and a lot fitter.

“That last session (before the Christmas break) at Richmond Oval, I was out on the track on the crosstrainer and seeing the way the boys are attacking training and how determined they are to go to that next level is keeping me connected and keen to get back in that group.”