Bed ridden and extremely sick, there was a time earlier this season when Sydney FC defender Matt Jurman thought his campaign was all over. Now he's a regular in the starting XI as the Sky Blues eye the Championship trophy.
Suffering with a really bad infection following arthroscopic knee surgery, the 25-year-old’s season looked done before it even got off the ground.
After starting in the Sky Blues’ season opener, Jurman went under the knife to clean up a dodgy left knee and expected to miss just over a month.
But things soon took a turn for the worse.
“It was pretty scary. I haven’t been that sick before,” Jurman told www.a-league.com.au.
“Not long after the surgery I was back in hospital for almost two weeks with a really bad infection, just bed ridden.
“I then spent another week at home after that not doing much. I didn’t know how my season was going to go after that.
“I wouldn’t want to go through that again. In saying that it gave me the determination to work hard and get back in the team.”
Jurman came through that dark time and returned to training around the same time as the Asian Cup break and worked extremely hard under the club’s fitness coach Andrew Clark.
It was a mini pre-season for the former Brisbane Roar defender, aimed at having him back to full fitness in time for the run home.
And it’s just the way it has panned out, with Jurman playing a significant role in the Sky Blues’ surge up the table since the turn of the year.
“I think I’ve played well but in saying that the team has done well, which helps individually,” Jurman said.
“I’ve got to thank Arnie [coach Graham Arnold] for giving me the chance to play and having the confidence in me. That’s got me playing the way I am.
“About the same time I came back to training Jacques [Faty] came in and ever since then I think we’ve formed a good partnership together and I definitely think we’re getting stronger and stronger every game.
“Sometimes it takes a little while but I think we’ve started really well from day one and looking forward to a big game with him on Sunday.
“Hopefully I can now win something with the boys.”
Jurman already has two championship medals to his name, with the Sky Blues back in 2010 as well as with Roar in 2012.
But he didn’t play in either decider and admits a winners medal on Sunday will be extra special with the impressive defender set to play a pivotal role.
The Sky Blues arrived in Melbourne on Saturday and had a light session, their last before Sunday's decider.
“It’s definitely exciting knowing you’re going to be on the field this time,” Jurman admitted.
“With Roar I was on the bench and the last time Sydney won in Melbourne I was on crutches.
“I was part of the squads so I’ve got the medals… I really want to get another medal.
“It will be a great feeling personally and as a club to lift that trophy…it would be awesome.”