THE day was September 17, 2018 and the Shellharbour Sharks had just ended a 17-year Group Seven premiership drought.
One of the keys to the victory over Kiama that day was back-rower Ryan McCracken.
Little did he know, that match would prove to be his last rugby league match for some time.
Weeks later, while representing Italy at the 2018 Oztag World Cup, the 27-year-old tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
This injury ruled him out of the entire 2019 season and the Sharks premiership defence.
Related content: Sims gives jerseys off his back for bushfire relief
"Having to sit on the sidelines was really hard," he said.
"I've played sport since I was five years old and I've never had to take time off, so it hit me pretty hard not to be out there with the boys.
"Missing our title defence year was really hard for me.
"We had a very talented team last year and I think our year would've been different."
Instead of being out there on the field with the rest fo Abed Atallah's men, McCracken spent most of the season alone in the gym rehabilitating.
"My rehab was a really slow process and not something you can be prepared for, as it's a lot of time alone in a gym," he said.
"Due to the damage to the bones I had when I tore my ACL, my first two months I couldn't have any impact - I was really limited.
"Once I was past that period and I could get back into the gym, it was a bit easier.
"Around the seven-month mark, I started running again which was nice because I could get outside and train.
"At nine months, I was able to rejoin the team training - it was such a relief just to be back around everyone.
Related content: Superoos and Tigers honour fallen teammate Rose
"At close to 13 months post-operation, my knee was back to normal and I started playing Oztag again.
"I can't thank Justin Castelli enough for everything he did for me during my rehab."
So when it came time begin pre-season ahead of the 2020 season, McCracken, who has played 21 of his 22 years at the Sharks (plus one at Dapto), was the first on the track - as the club want to make amends for last year.
"Pre-season this year was tough - we set some pretty high standards for this season in what we want to achieve," he said.
Related content: Field ready to make the most of Eels' lifeline
"Our training staff have made us accountable for every session.
"My body is feeling really strong and I can't wait to get back on the field and be able to play again.
"After last season, a lot of the boys were disappointed with how It finished - we had such a talented young team and losing in the preliminary final [to Kiama], the boys learnt a lot and they don't want to experience that feeling again."
When the Sharks start their campaign, which won't be until at least May after the NSWRL's recent announcement, they will be celebrating 100 years as a club.
"Playing for the Sharks in the 100th year is massive for me - I love this club and its history," he said.
"I've played for the club since I was five years old.
"During rehab last year, I kept telling myself to make sure I do everything right so I get to play the 100th year."
Coinciding with the Ron Costello Oval based club's 100-year anniversary, they have welcomed a host of new faces, as well as some old ones, to their playing group - aimed at filling the void left by Jack Kavanagh and Sam Clune.
"I'm really excited to see what Mitch Wilmott can do this year," McCracken said.
"I've known him since I was a kid and he's one of the smartest footballers I know.
"He's worked really hard to get himself fit enough to play this year and I'm expecting big things.
"I also believe Nick Greenhalgh is in for a massive year - he's trained really hard all pre-season and I can't wait to see him play.
Related content: Having a Ball: Kane pens deal with Sharks
"Finally, a massive plus for the club this year is having Matt Cody back playing - he's the type of guy every club needs.
"With our mix of talented younger guys and older heads coming back into the squad, it's a perfect balance.
"Throw in the added drive of our 100 years and the Sharks will be tough to beat this year."