Joe Groenewegen's Launceston comeback came to a grinding halt just weeks out from round one.
A flag ruckman in 2008 and 2011, Groenewegen broke his leg not long after returning to group training, ensuring his gap between senior TSL games would extend beyond four years.
Despite the setback, the 28-year-old has remained a commonplace sighting around Windsor Park and is still hoping to feature later in the season.
"I've pretty much just been healing," Groenewegen said of his recovery process.
"I started running this week, so hopefully towards the end of the year I might sneak into the D-League, but at the moment I'm enjoying just being around the footy club and helping out wherever someone asks me to help out pretty much.
"It's hard because it's the first time I've done a serious injury so it's difficult and some days are worse than others, but I can see the light now that I'm running and I can see the end date."
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A two-time McCauley Medallist, Groenewegen returned to Launceston in January after completing a four-year mainland stint with the army.
His one remaining 2011 flag teammate was influential in the signing of a two-year contract.
"I wasn't sure if I was going to play footy this year," Groenewegen said.
"Tim Bristow pretty much got in touch and said come down and have a chat with Thorpy [coach Mitch Thorp] and see how you feel about the place.
"So I went and had a meeting and pretty much as soon as I got there - outside of a good footy team on the field, they've created somewhere that you want to be and something that you want to be a part of.
"I thought even if I don't play this year, because I hadn't done a pre-season, it's somewhere to have a support network around you, it's a good place to restart again."
Launceston has defeated all four of last season's finalists in bolting to 4-0 - the club's best start to a campaign since 2011.
The Blues finished that campaign undefeated, with a 19-year-old Groenewegen one of the youngest players in the 44-point grand final win over Burnie.
Now a 115-gamer, Groenewegen said the 2011 and 2020 sides shared similarities - both knew that a good start was nothing more than that - as well as differences.
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"The difference is the team in 2011 had a whole bunch of players that had experienced success - they'd played in three premiership in a row in the NTFL and in the first two years of TSL probably didn't achieve what they thought they could," he said.
"So that team was a more senior team in terms of most of the boys had won grand finals and stuff like that.
"This team, there's a few blokes that have won grand finals like at South Launny and obviously Bricker [Bristow] and I, but it's mainly a new group, a young group.
"Hopefully the boys keep winning and by the end of the year there's some way I can sneak in, whether it's D-League or seniors, and be part of some success at the footy club again."