Michael Oakman-Hunt reckons it might have been the last flight out of Japan before they shut the borders.
He left dejected after the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to leave Japanese Top League outfit Yahama Jubilo in early April. But days like this are a silver lining.
Because he is back at a club that feels like home and the Tuggeranong Vikings have just put themselves in the box seat to secure the John I Dent Cup minor premiership.
A 71-point blitz has lifted the Vikings into first after thrashing the Wests Lions at Viking Park on Saturday, with the hosts piling on 10 tries in a 71-29 triumph.
Oakman-Hunt scored two tries and the former Brumby feels as though a stint in Japan has opened his eyes to a new perspective on rugby. Fair enough too, given he was mixing with international coaches and players like Kwagga Smith and Richie Arnold.
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"He mentored me which was really good, he had been playing in France with Toulon in the previous season. It was good to connect with those guys," Oakman-Hunt said.
"Our coaching staff were basically all Japanese so it was awesome to get another perspective on the game and the way they conduct themselves. It was quite a good learning experience.
"I was disappointed because I was meant to stay there for the season, but then obviously COVID kicked off. People are heading back there now so maybe there might be something post-John I Dent.
"They were really disciplined with the way they conducted themselves about everything. The population over there is incredible, there's 127 million people in densely populated areas, compared to Australia where you've got 25 million people in spread out areas. It would be quite crazy if a pandemic was to spread over there."
Wests' fight for a place in the finals series just became a much tougher ask with their third consecutive loss compounded by results across town.
The Gungahlin Eagles have risen to fourth with a 33-21 victory over the Uni-Norths Owls at Portsea Oval, with the latter now falling to second behind Tuggeranong on the table. Gungahlin are on 21 competition points, two behind the Canberra Royals, with Wests sliding back to fifth on 20.
The last-placed Queanbeyan Whites went within a whisker of stunning Royals, who escaped with a 27-all draw after Pedro Rolando converted Seth Going's try after the siren.
"It's really good to come back, I love Tuggeranong. It's always home and they've always supported me through my journey in the game," Oakman-Hunt said.
"It's good to see the youth come through, we've got a young skipper now, players like Tom Hooper. Even the other old heads that came through with me like Cal Smith, he's got a younger brother playing now.
"It's a really good group. I'm enjoying being in the senior group, I always looked up to players before me at Vikings, we always had great experience and the opportunity to learn. It's great to give back to the club.
"It was definitely good to be home in front of the old boys, it was old boys day so we had a few old faces showing up."
Among them was that of his brother Dean Oakman-Hunt, who jumped at the chance to be there when a rib injury kept him sidelined from Eastern Suburbs' Shute Shield clash.
AT A GLANCE
John I Dent Cup round eight: TUGGERANONG VIKINGS 71 (Michael Oakman-Hunt 2, Callum Smith, Isaac Thompson, Maika Ravouvou, Tom Hooper, James Douglas, Jed Englert, Cameron Holt, penalty try tries; Englert 4, Thompson 3, Isaac Henry conversions; Henry penalty) bt WESTS LIONS 29 (Matthew Logsdon, Brodie Leber, Kameli Ratuvou, Declan Meredith tries; Meredith 3 conversions; Meredith penalty) at Viking Park.
GUNGAHLIN EAGLES 33 (Corey Toole 3, Tom Haddad, Jamie Kotz tries; Matt Giteau 4 conversions) bt UNI-NORTHS OWLS 21 (Byron Hollingworth 2, Billy Carberry tries; Jordan Thompson 3 conversions) at Portsea Oval.
QUEANBEYAN WHITES 27 (Jamie Marmont 2, Justin Sikimeti, Kemble Frost, Asivorosi Senikaucava tries; one conversion) drew with CANBERRA ROYALS 27 (Ben Johnston, Pedro Rolando, Seth Going tries; Rolando 3 conversions; Rolando 2 penalties) at Phillip Oval.
Women's Premier XVs round eight: UNI-NORTHS OWLS 22 (Izzy Atkinson-Smith, Crystal Papalii, Tania Afamasaga, Claudia Obst tries; Madeleine Gogala conversion) bt GOULBURN 0 at Simon Poidevin Rugby Park.
TUGGERANONG VIQUEENS 46 (Stefanie Stewart-Jones, Sharon Waihape, Zali Waihape-Andrews [five try-scorers not entered] tries; Kyree Parsons 2, [one conversion not entered] conversions) bt WESTS LIONS 7 (Jane Morrison try; Caitlin Quester conversion) at Viking Park.