For 13 weeks Tyler Cornish was confined to the sideline, left to think about the dangerous tackle that shattered his jaw.
If any fear had built up within the Goulburn Bulldogs star, one play was all it took to wash it all away.
In doing so he helped the Bulldogs make a major statement in a 56-16 thrashing of the West Belconnen Warriors in the Canberra Raiders Cup at Goulburn Arena on Sunday.
Steven Cummins scored three tries while Cornish bagged two in his return to keep the Bulldogs inside the top two as they brace for the final five rounds of the regular season.
"We had Tyler come back this week, and mate, he's an absolutely incredible player. He's one of the bravest guys I've seen," Bulldogs coach Adam Kyle said.
"He came back from a really badly broken jaw and scored two tries, and had a hand in a couple of other tries as well. It was a really impressive performance.
"That was without playing for 13 weeks, so I'm really excited to see how he goes over the next month of footy."
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Cornish was a huge boost for a Bulldogs backline that is quickly hitting its straps ahead of the run to the finals - and outside back Cummins is reaping the rewards.
He crossed the line three times but "probably could have had a couple more" if not for some late errors in the hasty pursuit of more points.
"He's a kid I coached in Harold Matthews at the Raiders probably four years ago now," Kyle said.
"It's great now to be coaching him as an adult and seeing how well he is progressing."
AT A GLANCE
Canberra Raiders Cup round 13
GOULBURN BULLDOGS 56 (S Cummins 3, T Cornish 2, M Worboys, M Martin, T Greenwood, M Cornish, J Gray; C Hart 8 goals) bt WEST BELCONNEN WARRIORS 16 (J Roberts, T Middleton, M Scott tries; R Roberts 2 goals)