As the ball came to Larissa Crummer with the goal at her mercy during Brisbane’s W-League match against Perth on Sunday, the 25-year-old couldn’t help but break into a smile.
“I knew it was going in,” Crummer told AAP.
“I was really happy as soon as that ball came across.”
While that tap-in finish in the Roar’s 4-0 victory will be among the easiest goals Crummer scores in her career, the road over the past two years to get to that point could not have been more difficult.
The Matildas attacker, capped 20 times, was playing a football match for the first time in 758 days after the horrific double-leg break she suffered in January 2019.
As well as shattering the tibia and fibula bones in her left leg, Crummer suffered compartment syndrome and had to undergo five surgeries.
The agonising recovery left her wondering if she’d ever play again.
“I wanted to give up a few times when things kept getting worse and worse,” the former W-League golden boot winner said.
“I had a great support team with my family around me constantly and I’ve found a love for the game again.
“Lucky I kept pushing through it.”
Moving back to Queensland during her rehabilitation to be close to family, the apprentice plumber started training with the Roar late last year purely to sharpen her skills and fitness.
Roar coach Jake Goodship was impressed enough to sign Crummer in January, opening the door for an emotional return to the pitch.
“When I walked to the change room and seeing my kit hanging up there with my last name on it, I was like ‘this is amazing’,” she said.
“I’ve worked so hard to get back here and it’s finally coming true.”
Her return successfully negotiated, Crummer was back on the tools digging trenches on Monday.
With Brisbane the form team in the W-League nearing the competition’s finals and a huge three years looming for the Matildas before this year’s Olympics, next year’s Asian Cup and then the 2023 World Cup on home soil, even more reward may be ahead for the three-time W-League championship winner.
“I’ve never wanted to set my goals too high with everything that I’ve been through,” she said.
“I never knew what was around the corner for me at one point.
“If I can get back to Matildas and we can win some silverware with the Roar, it’d be absolutely amazing.
“I’ve been to a World Cup before and I know how special it is.
“It’s sort of a carrot dangling, I guess, just have to take everything as it comes and hopefully get back to where I was before I was injured.”