The hint of excitement in Jahrome Brown's voice makes him seem anything but a man who just months ago felt like he was letting his teammates down.
The now 24-year-old knew something had to give after he started turning up to ACT Brumbies training and feeling like he wasn't mentally there.
Which is why the shy breakdown jackal returned home to New Zealand and watched the Brumbies' charge to Super Rugby AU title from afar, having been granted leave on compassionate grounds to be with his family earlier this year.
Now a refreshed Brown is back on deck at Brumbies headquarters for pre-season training with the chance to help the club to domestic and trans-Tasman glory reigniting the fire within.
"For me it was pretty tough to leave the boys," Brown said.
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"At the time I just wasn't in the right headspace to be here and I felt like it was best for me and the team to shoot back home and be around my family.
"I had a bit of stuff going on, and I just wanted to get back, sort things out and clear the head a bit. I just wanted to be around my family, my loved ones, just clear my head.
"I had a chat with Dan [McKellar], [Chris Tindall], and Phil Thomson, they were pretty good with it. I told them what was going on, and they said to do whatever was best for me at the time. They were really good and I'm pretty rapt with how it all panned out.
"I just felt like I was letting the boys down, I was not really mentally there. It was good to get a break and refresh, I'm pretty excited about the year to come."
The road ahead is again one like no other as rugby officials on both sides of the Tasman edge closer towards normality.
The Brumbies will kick off their Super Rugby AU campaign against the Western Force on February 19 in Perth. The top three teams after 10 rounds enter a finals series with the decider slated for May 8.
Super Rugby Aotearoa begins on February 26, with 10 rounds to be played before the top two teams advance straight to the grand final on May 8.
All 10 teams from Australia and New Zealand will then be given one week to dust themselves off and launch a new trans-Tasman competition. It gives the two grand final-winners a shot at a rare double.
They will do it with Brown in the squad as he looks to build on a wild entry to Super Rugby, where he was thrust into the spotlight after climbing ladders to fix roofs in Hamilton for a living.
Brown has a golden chance to cement his place in the side following the retirement of Will Miller, who traded football for a life on the family farm.
Brumbies coach McKellar expects Brown and Tom Cusack to jostle for a place in the back-row, with Brown desperate to enjoy a piece of the grand final success his teammates earned in September.
"It was unreal, I just wanted to be there," Brown said.
"Definitely, I was watching all of their games. It was pretty tough watching to be honest, I just wanted to be back here.
"I was getting itchy feet and wanted to be around the boys again. It was good to get a break from rugby as well.
"I kind of wanted to come back just after I got to New Zealand and I was watching the boys. I'm back for pre-season and getting ready for next year."