Wallaby star Will Genia is expected to make his long-awaited return from injury this weekend.
The influential scrum-half hopes to feature in the Reds’ matchday squad for Saturday’s Super Rugby clash with the Force having spent six months on the sidelines.
Genia tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the Rugby Championship encounter with South Africa in Perth last September and hasn’t played since.
The 25-year-old was caught awkwardly after catching a high ball in the 26-19 win over the Boks, with critics wondering whether he would recover fully in time for the summer series with the Lions.
But those worries will be put to bed in Brisbane in five days’ time as the Reds’ go looking for a fourth league win in five games.
"I'm buzzing. It's game week again… I can't tell you how much I've missed this," said Genia, who was finally given the all clear by Wallaby doctor Warren McDonald last week.
"There was no fluid on the knee and nothing wrong with the function… it was all good news.
"It's felt like hell at times, but everything's gone to schedule from the single leg weights, the double leg weights, the hops, the skips, the jumps, the rehab running, being tackled from every angle and getting back into contact."
Genia sat out eight Tests in a row at the end of 2012 and has had to watch the Reds lose to the Brumbies before beating the Waratahs, Hurricanes and Rebels so far this season.
He admits it’s been a long road back but that time away from the game has made him appreciate exactly what it means to play top-flight rugby for a living.
"I've really missed the team environment. It's weird, but I've also kind of enjoyed a long lay-off,'' added Genia.
"Mentally, it's allowed me to re-think my rugby and what's important in my life in general.
"You realise how much time you really are away from your partner and family in-season. You appreciate the little things more, even team meetings that go too long. You enjoy everything."
All eyes will be on the Papa New Guinean-born No9 on Saturday, especially as the Wallabies lost openside David Pocock to an ACL tear in the last round of Super Rugby.
Genia captained the Wallabies in his most recent international after both Pockock and James Horwill were sidelined and Robbie Deans and the rest of Australia will be no doubt be hoping he rediscovers his form as quickly as possible given that he has just 11 domestic games to go before the Lions come calling.
"All my rehab and prep has been aimed at doing more than the game demands so I can give it everything in this first match back. Whether that's 15 minutes or 40 on Saturday, I don't know.
"It's never been in my thinking to just play and build into things in the first game. I wouldn't do that to the boys."