It's been the toughest period of Aidan Sezer's career and he credits his wife Raziye for being the rock that's helped him get through it.
But the Canberra Raiders halfback says his stint in reserve grade revitalised him and showed him how he plays his best football.
Now his sights are set on cementing his spot back in the Raiders team as they prepare to face the Cronulla Sharks at Canberra Stadium on Thursday night.
The Sharks have been a bogey team for the Raiders in Canberra, with the visitors winning the past six trips to the capital.
Sezer was a late call up for the Green Machine's emphatic 28-0 victory over the Wests Tigers on Friday, with Raiders coach Ricky Stuart bringing him in at halfback in place of Sam Williams.
Williams had played the previous 10 Raiders games there, with Sezer watching on from the sidelines for all but one of those.
Initially, an oblique injury had forced the 27-year-old out of the team and then Williams' form kept him out.
When he was fit again, Sezer was forced to bide his time playing for the Mounties in the NSW Cup.
But he capped his return with a try to ice the win over the Tigers, as well as playing a massive role in the build-up to Jordan Rapana's four-pointer.
"It was good. It's been a really tough period in my life and career," Sezer said.
"To ice the win like that with a bit of an intercept and to see the boys come over the top was one of my most satisfying moments of my career, and I don't say that lightly.
"It's been very tough and I take this opportunity to thank my wife Raziye. She's been my rock and she's probably got me through this period. Hats off to her."
Stuart revealed he gave Sezer his recall because of the defensive workload Williams had in the win over the Canterbury Bulldogs last weekend.
Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton's State of Origin debut meant both Williams and Sezer played in the halves against the Bulldogs.
Before that Sezer had played four games for Mounties after he'd overcome his oblique problem.
His role in Rapana's try lay in that stint in reserve grade - Sezer backed himself to run the ball on halfway on the fifth tackle before kicking cross field for Nick Cotric to soccer ahead.
"Going back and playing reserve grade for the first time in my career I think it was revitalising," he said.
"It made me realise what the game is about and playing what you see.
"I think I got caught up for the last few years trying to steer the ship and coming into grade it probably wasn't my strongest attribute.
"My attribute was my running game and kicking off the back of that. I've just got to bring that to first grade and not really worry about the result as much. Just play my footy and see where that leads me."
The win over Wests was the Raiders' third clean sheet of the season - the first time any Canberra team has achieved the feat.
Sezer said it showed the new defensive mindset of the Green Machine, revealing they'd gone out in the second half with the sole goal of keeping the Tigers out after taking an 18-0 lead into the break.
"Not giving away too much, our goal was just to keep them to nil," he said.
"We didn't care if we tucked the ball under our arm for five [tackles] and kicked to the corners. That was our goal and that speaks of our how content we are just to defend for the 80 [minutes]."
NRL ROUND 14
Thursday: Canberra Raiders v Cronulla Sharks at Canberra Stadium, 7.50pm.