Michelle Heyman says it's like they'd never spent a moment apart.
Because the moment Canberra United's most-capped player Ash Sykes came out of retirement for a second time, everything started to click.
"Things are falling to our feet, we know our runs, we know how to play to each other, everything is just coming naturally again which I think is a big confidence booster for the rest of the team, to know now we've got the same feeling on the field as what we had 10 years ago," Heyman said.
That should be music to the ears of any Canberra United fan, because 10 years ago they claimed both the premiership and the championship.
Now the journey begins again as Heyman and Sykes reunite ahead of Canberra's A-League Women's season opener against Melbourne City at Viking Park on Friday night.
Sykes retired in 2018 at the age of 26, having already spent a decade at the top. She answered an SOS for five games later that year. And now, just like John Farnham, she's back again.
"It's everything. We always need that experience on the field," Heyman said.
"You can always have young ones coming through, but you need to have someone who understands the game a little bit more and knows how to manage a game.
"Having Ash back is one of the best things that has happened. Already in training, it's like we've never spent a year apart.
"I called my mum to tell her and she is super excited to see Ash back. We're trying to bring back some of the old legends and see how we go."
Ask Canberra coach Vicki Linton what stands out about Sykes and she rattles off answers like the drive, the competitive instinct, the knowledge of the game and an ability to break it down for her teammates.
And it's a winning mentality that stands out above all else. She brings an edge to a group readily declaring "we are looking to win the league", and experience to a squad slowly establishing itself as a force at the top level.
"You talk Michelle, Ash and Grace [Maher]," Linton said.
"There are others in there that are core Canberra players who have been around for a while. Whether it's Laura Hughes or Lauren Keir, Emma Ilijoski now comes into that in her second season, Hayley Taylor-Young, just core Canberra players that are a core part of the framework.
"Senior players provide a framework too. Putting those on top of each other works really well."
We all want to be champions. It's fun making the finals, but if you don't win, what's the point in my own eyes? We're going all out. We want to hold up both trophies by the end of the year.Michelle Heyman
For all the club's success in the early days, Canberra has not won an ALW championship since 2014, nor have they finished top of the league since 2016-17.
New skipper Heyman is desperate for that to change with a simple burning desire: "to win it".
"Always go high or go home. That's with everything I do in life," Heyman said.
"That's something we're engraining in this team. We all want to be champions. It's fun making the finals, but if you don't win, what's the point in my own eyes? We're going all out. We want to hold up both trophies by the end of the year.
"I think we did everything we set out to do [last season]. We said we wanted to be top four contenders again, we ticked that box. Maybe we didn't say enough how much we wanted to win as well, so what's what we're doing.
"We're saying how much we want to win, and how much we want to believe in our team. Manifesting that is such a positive thing for our team and it's such a positive thing for us."
The first side standing in their way is Melbourne City, a traditional powerhouse who crashed to their worst result last season and will be desperate to make amends.
But already there is a train of thought that City could be starting from scratch again this season given so many players have not returned this summer.
It may well give Canberra a chance to kickstart their season in the perfect manner in front of a home crowd at Tuggeranong's Viking Park on Friday.
"They've always had a lot of cash to be able to buy the players they like. Every player would like to play for that team because of certain things they have," Heyman said.
"They're very professional, but for us, beating the best is the best feeling. We're going to go out there hard with a never die attitude."
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