IT'S been a long road since winning a premiership with St George Illawarra in 2010.
And some five seasons since Kiama Knights junior Brett Morris was left in agony injuring his shoulder, while scoring a try in the drought-breaking State of Origin series for NSW.
But the Sydney Roosters recruit Morris is targeting a return to his best after admitting he fell below expectations during his tumultuous final two seasons at Canterbury.
The veteran winger will make his tri-colours NRL debut against South Sydney on Friday after he was forced out of Belmore last year because of the Bulldogs' salary cap mess.
Over 2017 and 2018, the 'family club' was enveloped by controversy and uncertainty on and off the field as management attempted to dig them out of a financial hole.
That involved releasing several big name players including Moses Mbye and Aaron Woods and led to the departure of Morris and his brother Josh.
Morris stressed he harboured no ill will towards the Bulldogs, but he frankly admitted the episode wrought a toll on his mental state and it showed in his football.
"I was happy and I was playing with my brother," Morris said.
"But all the off-field stuff started to get to a few blokes.
"When you've got blokes who are walking on egg shells because they don't know whether they're going to be at the club, it starts to affect everyone.
"That was the only negative there. I'm not going to sit here and bag the club because that's not what I'm about."
At 32, Morris is out to recapture his brilliant best which saw him play 15 State of Origins for NSW and 18 Tests for Australia.
And he looked like a man who had had the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders in scoring a hat-trick in the Roosters' World Club Challenge win over Wigan.
He carried four defenders over the line and managed to plant down the ball for his second try, showing he still possessed plenty of class, speed and power.
"For me personally, it's about going out there and getting back to my best," Morris said.
"The last two years at the Bulldogs probably weren't my best for me.
"It's been a big pre-season and I'm looking to bring back my best footy."