Bryson Goodwin thought he was experiencing cardiac arrest after a season-ending collision last year and he received another shock to the system a fortnight ago when Stephen Kearney indicated his Kiwis career could be revived at the World Cup.
The 27-year-old was considering life after football as he recuperated from a ruptured spleen that forced him to spend three days in intensive care and more than two months convalescing.
Goodwin, who played three tests in the 2009 Four Nations tournament as a goal kicking wing, was unable to make a comeback for the Bulldogs last year and when his contract was not renewed he understandably feared for his future.
However, South Sydney coach Michael Maguire offered him a lifeline and since round two of the Rabbitohs campaign he has been a fixture in the centres, a positional switch that's attracted Kearney's interest.
Originally signed to a one-year deal as backline cover for Nathan Merritt, Matt King and Andrew Everingham, Goodwin had his deal extended to the end of 2015 recently and was also satisfied to take a surprise call from the Kiwis coach.
"It came out of the blue. It was good to hear from Mooks (Kearney) and if I keep playing well hopefully I'll be at the World Cup.
"I have good memories of playing over there (UK and France) and I've always wanted to play for the Kiwis again."
Goodwin's versatility and kicking prowess could be valuable for the Kiwis' Cup defence in October-November although there are no shortage of quality centres at Kearney's disposal with Dean Whare, Krisnan Inu and Shaun Kenny-Dowall in current favour.
Kearney's catch-up followed an approach from NSW coach Laurie Daley who asked if he was eligible to represent the Blues in State of Origin, another indication of the efficient back's rising stocks in 2013.
"I'm pretty happy the way things have gone. Once I got chance I've made the most of it. It's sort of worked out so far."
That is some understatement with Goodwin now third on the Rabbitohs' try-scoring list with six, half the total of Greg Inglis and Merritt, who he combines with on the left edge.
One of those tries was scored against the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart during the Rabbitohs 24-22 victory on April 7 and he is looking forward to another confrontation with imposing centre Konrad Hurrell in Perth on Sunday.
"He's a hard ball runner, hard to tackle. He's one of the toughest guys to mark because of his running style, he's got a big bump and he's quick for his size," Goodwin said.
"He's improved a lot since the start of the year, we've got a big challenge there for sure."
Inglis, who plays centre for Queensland but fullback for South Sydney, also rated the Tongan-born torpedo.
"He's a big boy and he's mobile. Since he got dropped a while back he's come back bouncing. He's a high quality player."
The competition leaders head to Western Australia today for the round 17 clash where South Sydney aim to win their fifth game on the trot, protect their four-point lead at the top of the table.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Who do you think will win the Rugby League World Cup?