After winning his way back into the team, Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas is determined to keep his place in the starting XI for the remainder of the Hyundai A-League season.
It was in the same round last season that Thomas got his opportunity, when he replaced the injured Nathan Coe in Round 24 and played for the rest of the campaign.
After Victory won the Premiership-Championship double, decorated Hyundai A-League goalkeeper Danny Vukovic arrived in the off-season, forcing Thomas to bide his time again.
"I've been waiting for this. I've been working hard and, personally, I'm ready to come in and hopefully have a big impact on this team," Thomas said.
"It was difficult after the success of last year to come in and not play a minute. You get patches of ups and downs and you get quite frustrated.
"I've kept my head down and I've worked hard. I believe things happen for a reason.
"My chance has come around again and I'm ready. I've been ready since the final last year. I felt comfortable coming in and hopefully I can continue."
While Vukovic made way for Thomas last week, the pair enjoys a close, professional relationship.
"It's a professional environment. I've respected him the whole way through and supported him when he was playing," Thomas said.
"Before the game (against Newcastle) he said a few words to help me out. The mutual respect is there.
"Now it just increases the intensity in training. He wants his spot back and I want to keep it. We'll both be pushing."
Despite Thomas making his return last week, he is under no illusions he has to work hard to keep his spot in the team.
If he is selected, he welcomes the responsibility.
"I want the pressure. It's part of being in this club. There are big games every week, especially the situation we're in now," he said.
"I'd love to come in and take the responsibility and help the team out."