Even Shaun Fensom's staunchest supporters could have been forgiven for casting doubts over his rugby league future after seeing the gruesome footage of the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys forward breaking his leg in last season's grand final.
But according to the man himself there was never a moment of uncertainty in his mind – he was always going to make it back.
Even lying in a hospital bed in the days following the horrific incident three minutes into the 2017 decider against Melbourne, hanging up the boots was never an option for Fensom.
After more than six months of rehab the 29-year-old finally made his return to action last weekend, coming off the bench for the Townsville Blackhawks in their 30-16 victory over Norths Devils in the Queensland Cup.
"I knew that if you apply yourself to your rehab you can achieve a lot of things," Fensom said when asked if he ever feared his career was over.
"I've had serious injuries before and got back on the paddock. You've just got to apply yourself to your rehab and trust in the people who are telling you what to do and that it's going to work. If you do that eventually it will all come off.
"A lot of people asked me if I was nervous, but I wasn't really at all. I knew that I'd done the training to get me there and I was confident in the leg holding up."
Fensom's first big victory during his long and arduous rehab stint came earlier this month when, much to the delight of his teammates, he was cleared to resume full contact training with the remainder of the NRL squad.
"I had done a lot of training on the back field with Ash Graham. Just to be running back around with the boys was awesome, they all gave me a big cheer," he said.
It wasn't pleasant to have to sit on the sidelines and watch for the first six weeks of the season. I was around training and trying to help out where I could, but it was still frustrating to be sitting on the sidelines.
Cowboys head coach Paul Green was on hand to witness Fensom's return for the Blackhawks last weekend and was impressed enough to name the workhorse on the interchange bench for Saturday night's clash with the Raiders at 1300SMILES Stadium.
Despite having little more than 40 minutes of football under his belt for the season, Fensom is confident he is ready for an NRL return.
"I blew some cobwebs out on the weekend, the lungs were burning there at stages, but I was confident in my leg. I was really blowing during the first stint, but during my second I was pretty comfortable out there," he said.
"I want to get out there and do my role to the best of my ability. I want to help tidy up that middle and tidy things up because Canberra have a couple of big boys so I'm sure they'll try and roll through the middle at stages."