AJ Ogilvy was initially relieved to re-sign with Illawarra, but the veteran big-man's overwhelming push is one of unfinished business as he heads into his sixth season on in Wollongong.
The 32-year-old was a key cog in the 'big three', along with MVP's Kevin Lisch and Kirk Penney that reached the semi-finals in his first season with the Hawks.
The loss of two of those wheels didn't stop the Hawks going one better a year later where they ran into a red-hot Bryce Cotton in the grand final series.
Ogilvy was All-NBL First Team in both those seasons and remains the only surviving player from those seasons under Rob Beveridge.
Times have been much tougher in the years since, with Beveridge departing and the club sinking to its lowest ever finish last season - one that ended with the club heading into liquidation.
It's certainly not the note Ogilvy wanted to leave on.
"Over the last two seasons, last season in particular, we've underachieved," Ogilvy said.
"Through injuries and other things, I've definitely got a bitter taste in my mouth over the way those seasons have ended. I thought we were a talented group last season, if injuries and some other things had gone our way, we were a playoff team.
"We've been there. We ran into Perth both those seasons, semi-final and grand final, ran into a red-hot Bryce Cotton in the [grand] final series. I think we've had groups that were just as talented as those playoff groups but through injury and whatever else was going on we haven't been as successful.
"That's part of professional sport but I certainly have a desire to try and help this team back to a finals run."
It's certainly not something that was a given, with Ogilvy noticing as much as anyone else as new coach Brian Goorjian's roster filled up.
When it hit ten, it looked as if he might have to look elsewhere before Goorjian reached out with an offer to cover injured young-gun Dan Grida.
"It was a strange off-season with everything going on, a coaching change, an ownership change, but it was obviously my first priority to sign with the Hawks," Ogilvy said.
"I've been here a while and Wollongong's my home. I saw, as everyone else did, that the roster was full. I spoke to my agent and it was a little touch and go there but I spoke to coach Goorjian and he said Grida was going to be out with his knee [injury] so there was a spot available.
"It was a bit of a shock but it all worked out in the end, I can't complain. To come back and have a chance to work under a new coach with a whole new squad is exciting. I'm looking forward to hopefully making a playoff run when this season finally rolls around."
It was an at times difficult campaign for the 32-year-old last season where he shifted through spots with Josh Boone in a 4-5 mix that never really hit peak chemistry.
Now fully healthy with the benefit of an extended off-season, he's confident he can nudge his former All-NBL form in a rotation with Cam Bairstow and Sam Froling.
"It was up and down [last season], I thought when Sam and Josh were out [injured] I played a bit more and I thought I played well," Ogilvy said.
"Obviously when they were both back there was more of a squeeze for minutes which is how those things go. I thought I improved on the season I had before and hopefully I can do that again this year and get back to the level I know I can play at.
"When COVID hit I just thought 'if I can't get on a basketball court, I'm going to get my body right'. I'm moving as well as I have been since my mid-20s.
"It feels good, I don't have those niggles so I'm taking this year-long off-season to make the most of it so when we do get started my body's built to go."
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