ACT Brumbies rookie Jahrome Brown is confident he can turn off-season pain into game-time gain after a broken leg gave him a chance to reflect on a helter skelter year.
Brown has started training again after stint at Waikato ended in disaster when he snapped the fibula in his leg before the New Zealand domestic competition.
He will have to find his feet again quickly with just seven weeks left before the Super Rugby season-opener against the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium.
But the 23-year-old has already shown he's capable of handling big challenges, which is why he has been nominated as a Newcomer of the year contender at the Rugby Players' lunch on Thursday.
The Brumbies will look to Brown, Will Miller and Tom Cusack to fill the gap left by David Pocock, with one to trio to be tasked with wearing perhaps the most coveted Brumbies jersey of all.
It's still a mindblowing prospect for Brown, who less than 12 months ago was climbing ladders to fix roofs in Hamilton and completely unknown in Canberra.
The Brumbies sent him an SOS when Ben Hyne injured his knee, he was put on a train-and-trial contract and then thrown into the deep end when Pocock was injured for most of the 2019 campaign.
Brown didn't disappoint. He scored a try with his first touch in Super Rugby, was man of the match in his run-on debut and turned heads as the shy breakdown jackal.
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He was rewarded with a multi-year contract and he's hoping career stability can be his launching pad this year, even if he still describes himself as "the new guy".
"It's a bit easier coming back in this year not having to meet everyone," Brown said.
"It was tough only being signed for a couple of weeks at a time. I didn't really know what is going to happen, but now I know I'm here for a couple of years.
"I learnt this year about making sure your body is right and being ready for kick-off on a Saturday.
"This all happened out of the blue. I didn't expect it to happen ever, but I'm excited about the future and really happy with how it all ended up." Brown is one of several Brumbies in contention for awards at the Rugby Union Players' Association event in Sydney.
Rob Valetini is also nominated as a newcomer of the year, while Pete Samu is in contention as the NRC player of the year, Allan Alaalatoa, Blake Enever and Josh Mann-Rea are finalists for academic achievement and Lachlan McCaffrey has been recognised for community service.
It's a good sign for the club, which is at a critical point in rebuilding its squad for results on the field and as officials attempt to reconnect with Canberra.
Brown, a former New Zealand under-20s squad member, was one of the bright lights of this year's performance, standing tall after being offered a rugby lifeline at a club he never expected to join.
Cusack and Miller are probably ahead in the No. 7 pecking order for next year, because of their experience but Brown says he's ready for his opportunity if coach Dan McKellar taps him on the shoulder.
"I got through the whole Super Rugby season, so I was a bit down when my year ended like it did after one game in New Zealand," Brown said.
"But in a way maybe it was good, gave me a chance to refresh to come back. [Cusack and Miller] have been around a fair bit, I'm just the new guy and that competition is good to push yourself."
The Brumbies' international contingent will return to training next week.