Ellia Green has spent the best part of a year on the sidelines, but the Aussie Sevens speedster has been hitting new marks in training as she prepares for a Sydney Sevens comeback.
Green has missed nine months of rugby, last playing in the Kitakyushu Sevens last April, before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
The 24-year-old, though, has come back better than ever despite the lengthy sideline stint, topping personal bests on the track and in the gym.
Just weeks ago the powerhouse athlete posted a video to Instagram of a new box squat mark, reaching 200kg, an incredible feat at any point in her career.
Aussie coach Tim Walsh said Green was in some of the best shape of her career.
“To come out of rehab and then seamlessly go back into the team is our goal but Ellia's come back hitting PBs in the gym, speed, her passing's improved, so she is a real case study for anyone who's injured in any sport,” he said.
“You're looking at rehab (as) a silver lining, (you can) find something positive from it and pick up different different skills.
“It's a tough and long road from an ACL but you look at her now, she's leaner, quicker, stronger than she's ever been before, which is amazing.”
Walsh isn’t expecting Green to instantly return to her best form in Sydney, with a bigger picture focus on April’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
“She will be a little bit rusty in Sydney but she's going to play and she's in great physical condition so and it's not like she's on debut, she's a veteran, she could come in there not rust at all,” he said.
“I think it would be unexpected for her to just walk out there and play like she's been playing for a year and a half when she's been injured for nine months.”
Green would be an invaluable boost for Australia in Sydney, as they look for redemption in the second iteration of the women’s tournament.
Australia is coming off its most dominant tournament win in Dubai, a result that puts the side in the best position possible coming into Sydney.
The pressure won’t be quite as scorching on the 2016 Olympic champions this time around, after a mixed 2016-17 World Series, but Walsh said they had learned to embrace expectation.
“We review every tournament, after Sydney last year, we reviewed that and worked out why we didn't perform and that was the most disappointing thing - not that we didn't win, but that we didn't perform to our best.”
“(There are) certain things we could've done better in terms of our preparation, to make it a little bit more similar to being overseas, we’ve made some adjustments for that and then it was just the pressure of expectation and we didn't handle that pressure well.
“We've been there and done that, now we're here again, so we can probably put ourselves in a different kind of position.”
Australia will face Spain, Papua New Guinea and France in its pool games in Sydney, kicking off on Australia Day.
The 2018 Sydney Sevens begins on Friday January 26, running until Sunday January 28. Buy tickets here.