It says much about the depth of his character that you wouldn't know about the dark days Jordan O'Doherty had to face as he worked his way back from a crippling knee injury that put his career on hold.
Watching the 22-year-old go through his knee reconstruction rehabilitation during the latter stages of last season, through the season break and then through the pre-season, the single-mindedness was there for all to see.
Importantly, there was often a smile on O’Doherty’s face and time for a quick chat before or after the long, grueling workouts on his own while the rest of the squad was going through their paces out on the pitch in preparation for the new season.
It has been a hard road for O’Doherty, now in his second season with the Wanderers, after he ruptured his ACL during a game against Perth Glory back in Round 20 on 24 February last year.
O'Doherty had lasted only 16 minutes when his left knee buckled when going for the ball.
But, almost a year on from that injury, all the hard work paid off for the young midfielder when he came on as a substitute in the final stages of the Wanderers impressive 5-2 win over Adelaide United at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night.
It might only have been an eight-minute cameo, but for O’Doherty it was like winning the lottery.
One of the nice guys of Australian football, it was gratifying to see him greeted with such warmth, not just from his own teammates but also from several Adelaide United players when he ran onto the field.
“It has been 362 days, I think, since last my last competitive game in the Hyundai A-League,” said O'Doherty.
“It has been an absolute mental and physical battle to get back to here.
“It was always my main goal to get back to doing what I love. It has been a long time and I have had to wait and been back training for a while now.
“I am just happy to be back and it was a great game to be back involved with as well with such a good win.”
With nine games still left in the regular season, O’Doherty will be keen to make up for lost time and add to the 18 games he has played for the Red & Black since signing from Adelaide United.
The midfielder is also determined to play his part in helping the Wanderers make a run for the finals. The club is starting to make a concerted run under interim head coach Jean-Paul de Marigny having garnered two wins and a draw since he took charge.
“There’s massive momentum and we are going to stay positive,” said O’Doherty.
“We have been positive all season, even though it has been quite tough.
“The boys have always stuck together and now we are going through a good patch and turning things around.
“We are aiming for the top six but will take things as they come and hopefully we will do it.”