Karmichael Hunt has broken his seven month silence, revealing the time he has spent on the sideline was a "blessing in disguise".
The banished Reds star returned to rugby with a 30-minute cameo in Souths's 24-all draw at Bond University - the Magpies erasing a 24-12 deficit after Hunt entered the fray.
He helped set up the try which laid the platform for a grandstand finish and threw the final, looping cutout which put star winger Emori Waqavulagi in for his third try of the afternoon - Quade Cooper missing a shot two metres in from touch after the final siren to leave the score deadlocked.
Hunt carried with typical zip, helped orchestrate the Souths attack alongside Cooper and looked every bit the player that featured in the Wallabies' loss to Scotland on last year's Spring Tour - the last match he featured in prior to this cameo.
"I've been trying to get some footy all year - it just wasn't to be," Hunt said post match.
"Obviously, as you guys would understand, I have been with Norths for the last couple of years so I wanted to go back through them - Fogs, Eddie and all the coaches.
"But some things popped up behind the scenes there which have kept me out - there's no bad blood there.
"I feel good, 6-7 months off was a blessing in disguise (for my body) getting over niggles I've have since forever.
"(It's) good to be back - I can't thank Souths enough - Tony the president and the boys at the club.
"I'm just happy to be back, I want to thank Souths, I want to repay those boys and I want to just try win some footy games."
There was a sense of relief about Hunt post match, as he admits there were times through the last seven months where he pondered whether a return would ever be possible.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think that would be the case - especially from what I was hearing," he said.
"But I've been keeping myself fit, training really hard and spending a lot of time with my wife, my girls, my family.
"They say there is good in every bad and bad in every good.
"The good that has come of the bad of not playing footy is having a lot of family time and refreshing the body and mind."
The 31-year-old knows his return may not please everyone and is at peace with that notion, well aware of the mistakes he has made.
"Everyone who knows me, they understand that I'm not perfect but I do my best and I give everything to my family and my friends," he said.
"I do make mistakes and I have let people down and heavy heartedly that really affects me.
"But over the last six months I've been able to work on some things that just keep reoccurring in my life.
"Just managing stress, my three girls, the pressure of footy and things like that.
"I wouldn't call it a battle but it's a constant learning curve for me.
"I don't claim I have got my finger on the button with it, that's for sure, but I've been burnt twice now by my own behaviour and I'm just focusing on moving forward and I'm really grateful for the opportunity from Souths."