When Josh Hodgson went to pencil in his NRL return date, he erred on the side of caution.
And perhaps the product of his patience was on show on Sunday as he tore the Wests Tigers to shreds in Canberra's 48-12 win at Campbelltown Stadium.
Playing for the first time in seven months following a knee reconstruction, Hodgson was not only individually brilliant, he lifted his Raiders teammates to another level.
He finished with three try assists as the Raiders, who had spluttered along through the first 14 weeks, suddenly looked very much top-eight contenders.
Speaking about his confident return from a ruptured ACL suffered in last year's World Cup, he said the key to hitting the ground running was to resist the temptation to rush back.
Some players return from the same injury after six months but look shades of their former selves.
Hodgson on the other hand had an almost immediate impact, setting up Josh Papalii with a copybook pass after being on the field for just three minutes.
"When I spoke to the surgeon, I went and saw him at six months, and he said you'll know yourself when you're right," Hodgson said.
"From day one I always had seven months in my mind.
"People come back at six, some might even come back earlier, it's just when you're right in yourself.
"I always wanted a good four or five weeks of good contact in me and that fitness in me before I came back."
Hodgson was originally aiming to make his return against Brisbane after the representative bye.
But after making a barnstorming return, he will now have two weeks off before the Raiders turn their attention to their last 10 games and climbing into the top eight.
Even after a season marked by alarming fadeouts - on six occasions this year they have led or been level after the 65-minute mark before going on to lose - they are still in the finals hunt.
In ninth spot, they are just four points adrift of the eighth-placed Broncos.
"You don't want to get carried away," Hodgson said.
"It's about being consistent. There's only been twice this year that we've been blown out of the water. We're always in games. (Today) we stuck to our game plan really well."