Billy Slater has waited more than three years and a half years for Friday night to arrive.
That is how long the superstar fullback has waited to pull back on his green and gold jersey after injury left him sidelined for so long.
The Rugby League World Cup kicks off this Friday night when Australia takes on England at AAMI Park which will see Slater fittingly make his international return right here at home.
When Slater runs onto the field to take his place behind the Kangaroos line, it will add another fitting chapter to what has been a remarkable comeback story in 2017.
It was a season that started with doubts as to whether he would ever play again but just eight months later the 34-year-old now stands not only as a premiership player once again but a two-time Clive Churchill medalist.
He would be forgiven for thinking ‘mission complete’ yet a champions mentality never reaches that point, it is all about that next challenge and that now comes in the form of Wayne Bennett’s England in just four days time.
“It’s all about playing well and performing well in this first game,” Slater told the Herald Sun.
“They’ve got a lot of players playing in the NRL now and we see them first hand each week — we know what they’re capable of.”
“It’s always exciting to represent your country but obviously when you haven’t done it for a while that burn and fire lights a little bit bigger.
“There’s no prouder moment than to stand there and sing the national anthem and think of every single Australian that you’re representing.”