RUGBY LEAGUE: Jonathan Tavinor takes his place one off the ruck, looks at the retreating defensive line and smiles.
A torn meniscus saw the Yeppoon Seagulls halfback robbed of the entire 2016 season.
It left two minute holes in his knee, and bigger scars mentally. He found the sidelines a sorry place to be.
Approaching the twilight of a long and lustrous career, Tavinor is now treating every game like his last.
But scarily for the Rockhampton A-grade Rugby League competition, he says is in "the best shape of his career".
"I am enjoying my footy again for sure," the 30-year-old revealed. "At my age you take a lot less for granted."
"Last year was very tough. Very frustrating. And it was starting to look like I might have to call it quits.
"But I was at the right club. Having the right people around you to help you through helped a lot.
RRL Round 5
- Fitzroy vs Woorabinda
- Gladstone Brothers vs Tannum
- Rocky Brothers vs Norths Chargers
- Yeppoon vs Biloela
- Valleys vs Emu Park
"That and with the amount of injuries we had, we were all in the same boat."
Looking back on the surgery, he calls it a blessing in disguise.
"I learnt a lot from the injury and good things came from it. I learnt a lot about rehabilitation and training and just generally how to look after your own body," he said.
"We have only played two games so far this year but the body is feeling great. I actually think I'm in the best shape of my life.
"Getting over that knee injury was difficult but I want to go on from here."
Yeppoon ground out premiers Norths Chargers 14-12 in Round 1 and trumped Emu Park 30-16 prior to the Easter break.
Tavinor at the helm, putting the polish on the rough gems that make up the youthful Seagulls side.
Gulls coach Scott Minto spoke highly of one of his most prized assets.
"He is one of those players that makes the whole side lift that 10%," Minto praised.
"I know I would have got up playing with him. He takes the line on and is just a leader by action with and without the ball.
"His timing is a little way off but he is going great guns."
Yeppoon won back to back premierships with Tavinor a main cog in 2014-15.
Titles are not won in Round 3 yet signs of promise are evident.
1 Rockhampton Brothers: F 144, A 10
2 Yeppoon Seagulls: F 44, A 28
3 Norths Chargers: F 64, A 20
4 Woorabinda Warriors: F 90, A 60
5 Valleys: F 84, A 60
6 Emu Park: F 58, A 40
7 Past Brothers: F 52, A 92
8 Biloela Panthers: F 46, A 108
9 Tannum Sands: F 32, A 102
10 Fitzroys: F 16, A 110
"We can be as good as anyone. It is early days but we most definitely have the potential," he said.
"The young boys keep us on our toes and if we keep going how we are - we will be fine.
"2014 was a great side so if we can even be half as good as them that will be great."
Yeppoon sit in equal first with an undefeated start to the season, only behind Rockhampton Brothers on points differential.
Biloela, despite an 86 point hammering by Brothers, are in eighth place with one win and a loss.
The clash kicks off at Webb Park today at 6pm.
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