Danny Vukovic has made a successful return to action in Belgian after being sidelined for nearly a year with a serious Achilles tendon injury.
Vukovic hurt his ankle last July in a freak accident in the gym.
On Thursday the Socceroo goalkeeper was back on the field for Genk, playing 45 minutes in a pre-season 3-1 win over second division side Union Saint-Gilloise.
"I played the second 45 and we won 3-1," he told FTBL.
"I conceded a goal but it was a penalty. Not much I could do about it. All in all it was good. It was good just to be back out there and I felt pretty sharp out there.
"I’ve been training for a good three or four months and I have felt good in training, but games are completely different. To get the timing and the game positioning back, so there were moments when things could have been a little better but I was expecting that.
"All in all very happy with how I went and something to build on."
The new Belgian club season is to start in early August after the 2019/2020 campaign was cut short because of the Coronavirus.
Vukovic admits the break because of the pandemic may have indirectly helped him by giving him some extra time to get his body right and complete his rehab to get back on the pitch.
"I would have started playing a lot earlier if it wasn’t for the virus and all the restrictions," the 35-year-old admitted.
"But, looking back on things, it’s probably a little bit of a blessing in disguise. Although I could have played I don’t think I was fully at 100%.
"I was still feeling the Achilles, and I’ve had a bit of trouble with the ank;e itself because I couldn’t walk for the first couple of months and then everything locks up.
"So it gave me a few extra months and I’m feeling really good. So it’s probably helped me in the long run."
Vukovic said the Coronavirus hit Belgium "pretty bad" initially.
"In the earlier months we were one of the worst countries in infection rates in terms of the population," the former Sydney FC shot-stopper said.
"But then the restrictions came in and people took it very seriously and it sort of slowed down. I’ve heard recently that it looks like it’s picking up again. It’s here to stay until a vaccine comes.
"It’s been OK, we’ve dealt with it well as a family and just looking forward to it being over whenever that is."
Vukovic rode out the pandemic in the European country with his family, rather than return to Australia.
But the keeper is glad he stayed in Belgium, after recovering from the difficult injury, and is excited for the new season ahead.
"It wasn’t easy [the recovery]," he said.
"I’ve haven’t really had many injuries in my career and certainly not long-term ones. I’ve been pretty lucky when I have got injured I've still being able to play somehow. This one was a difficult one, you can’t really play through a ruptured Achilles.
"They gave me the option but I just felt it was better to stay. I was at the back end of rehab and it made no sense to go home. I’m glad I did that because I find myself in a much better position.
"I actually feel better than I did prior to the injury. It’s been good to stay and work hard, and I feel ready to rejoin the side."