It is almost impossible to believe that in the build up to his comeback game in Round 3 Billy Slater was unsure if his body would every allow him to play again.
Fast forward to this week, his seventh Grand Final Week, and the Storm No.1 is arguably in as good a shape as he has ever been in.
After being forced to sit out the last two finals series due to injury, Slater has put in two scintillating performances in both finals this year to well and truly reclaim his throne on the big stage.
Now that fear he felt all those months ago only exists to serve as motivation for how far he has come.
“I certainly feared that my body would not let me play again,” Slater said.
“That was something that was concerning for me. I was always willing to work hard and give myself an opportunity to get back mentally but physically I did not know where my body was at and whether it was going to recover to an extent that I was going to be able to play in the NRL again.
“I love playing footy, I’ve been doing it since I was four years old.
“That was the main driving focus to get back and play. I didn’t have any set goals to make any team or play a certain amount of games. I just wanted to get back and play for the Melbourne Storm.
“It really hurt not playing last year and the year before. Sitting back and watching my team play in big games certainly lit the fire to get back and want to be a part of it again.”
Slater knows what it means to be on the right side of the result come Grand Final day.
It his why not only he but every one of his teammates puts in their mountain of hard work.
“We play the game to succeed and be successful,” Slater said.
“It has been a great career since I’ve been here, the Club is certainly a successful Club.
“For me it is about being as successful as you can. This year is about the 2017 team, it is not about how this team will be seen in 10 years time.
“It is just about focusing on the 80 minutes on Sunday and preparing as best we can.”