Oh, how the Goulburn Bulldogs have missed Tyler Cornish.
After sitting out ten rounds due to a gruesome jaw injury, the fullback made his return on Sunday afternoon against the West Belconnen Warriors, and played a starring role in Goulburn's 56 to 16 win with two tries.
It was the Bulldogs' second win on the trot, and Cornish was confident that he was ready to return.
"I did [expect to play well] actually, I've been putting in the hard work," Cornish said.
"About six weeks after I broke the jaw, I was back doing gym and fitness training. I was expecting to come back almost where I left off.
"I put in the work to get back to my best footy."
The hard yards paid off for Cornish, whose performance was heartily praised by Bulldogs coach Adam Kyle.
"[Cornish is] just such a natural athlete, it was a really big blow for us early in the season considering we'd had all the preseason and worked really hard on our combinations," Kyle said.
"To come back from such a horrendous injury like that and put in the display he did just shows the kind of character he's got."
Having Cornish slot back into the fullback role, which has been filled by no less than four different players in his absence, is a big step for the Bulldogs towards getting their best side on the field.
"We're not too far off, we've still got a couple of boys that are touch-and-go for the next couple of weeks," Kyle said.
"But we're anticipating probably in the next two or three weeks that we'll have what we consider our top side on the park."
The timing couldn't be better, either, as Goulburn shapes up for a clash with the Woden Rams this weekend.
The reigning premiers are coming off a one-sided defeat at the hands of the Tuggeranong Bushrangers last weekend, and Cornish knows that they will be looking to redeem themselves and clamber back into the top four.
"They're gonna be tough every time we play them, because they've obviously got quality players," Cornish said.
But in the lead-up, the Bulldogs will only focus on being at their best, Cornish added.
The Goulburn Bulldogs will take on the Woden Rams at the Goulburn Workers Arena from 2.00pm on Saturday, July 20.
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