You could have forgiven Latrell Mitchell for packing up his bags early last season.
Placed into the Queensland bubble for the final two months of the regular season, the Rabbitohs were humming in 2021, and looked set for glory until a poorly-timed reckless tackle from the fullback ended Joseph Manu's season a few weeks early.
It was nearly a year to the day that Mitchell tore his hamstring in a 38-0 victory over Parramatta in 2020, his season twice prematurely cut short while he watched his South Sydney team mates battle on without him.
They lost the 2020 preliminary final as well as the 2021 NRL Grand Final in Latrell's absence, both two-point defeats at the hands of Penrith.
Now, in the back end of his third year at the club, Latrell Mitchell will finally run out in the cardinal and myrtle during the post-season.
It'll be the Origin star's first finals game at fullback, with his last appearance in the pointy-end of the season coming at left centre for the Roosters in the 2019 Grand Final, his flick pass to put Daniel Tupou down the sideline handing the Chooks a consecutive premiership.
Tasked with bringing down his former club, Mitchell's job has been made easier in the absence of Manu, who did an outstanding job at shutting down the Rabbitohs' famous left-side attack last week.
Mitchell came face-to-face with Trent Robinson and Nick Politis on-field following their 26-16 loss to the Roosters last Friday, and while eager to get past them and progress to a semi-final against Cronulla, Latrell says it was good to bury the hatchet with the pair.
“There was a lot of feeling with what happened in the past," Mitchell told Fox Sports.
“I was definitely grateful to be able to embrace Robbo and Nick Politis for sure.
“There’s still a lot of feeling with what I’ve been able to achieve there, and the journey I started on gave me the opportunity to be me. I was definitely grateful for that.
“It was nice to see him and have a yarn and not talk footy.
“That was the first time.
“It was nice.”
Robinson refused to reveal what was said during their all-smiles conversation, however did defend the Rabbitoh, stating that fans should remember his role in back-to-back premierships before booing the fullback.
“It (the booing) was obviously in context with what happened in the last game. It was our first home game and that’s where it should rest. It shouldn’t happen tomorrow,” he said.
“He’s very special to me and this club and the time we had here. It’s nice to see him and I love seeing his smile and him happy.
“He’s left a huge imprint on this team and we really care about him. My kids will still ask about Latrell and if he’s playing. He’s a real favourite."
There's certain to be fireworks between the sides on Sunday afternoon, but when quizzed on his conversation with Robinson, Mitchell only had one thing to say.
“I’ll say it on Sunday when we win.”