While his teammates cobbled together an impressive preliminary final charge last season, Bailey Simonsson was reduced to running eternal laps at Raiders headquarters.
It's all he could do as he recovered from shoulder surgery, but Simonsson is starting to see the fruits of his endless labour now 2020 has been banished to the rear-view mirror.
And he's never been fitter.
Simonsson used the frustration of season-ending shoulder surgery last year to bulk up to 98kg, and he can't wait to inject his shredded frame back into Canberra's backline this year.
"Through the rehab I just spent a lot of time in the gym, working on that strength throughout my shoulder and through my back," Simonsson said.
"I feel like all my strength and weight and size has probably gone up, it's probably been a blessing in disguise in that sense where I've been able to get in the gym and work really hard on my body in different areas I probably needed to improve on.
"I'm in better shape. And also I had a bit of a headstart on the boys with all of the running, I was doing a lot of rehab running last year while there were training throughout the finals."
Simonsson's shoulder gave way against the Melbourne Storm in round nine last season, in the same game that claimed key man Josh Hodgson's season.
The pair spent countless days together in the rehab room as part of a bulging casualty ward as pundits wrote of the Raiders' finals chances.
But despite a brutal travel schedule and a bruised-up squad, the Raiders marched to a fifth-placed finish and ended the Roosters' title defence in week two of the finals before stumbling in the preliminary final against a near faultless Melbourne Storm.
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"It was mixed emotions," Simonsson said.
"I was really stoked to see the boys winning and getting a step closer each time but at the same time you're just sitting there watching and you can't really be a part of it."
The 22-year-old is set to slot straight back onto the wing for the Raiders this season.
Canberra lost Nick Cotric to Canterbury Bulldogs, but have re-signed Jordan Rapana and unearthed a potential future star late last season in Semi Valemei.
"There's so many good players throughout our team in all positions that constantly every week there's going to be competition for spots," Simonsson said.
"Once you get a jersey you're just doing your best to hold on. It's good, it makes everyone play better, train harder and ultimately it makes the team better."