THE long, lonely hours committed to overcoming a serious foot injury paid off for Koroit footballer Jayden Watson.
He became a three-time premiership Saint on Saturday after working his way back into the Chris McLaren-led powerhouse side midway through the 2019 season.
Watson, who was restricted to three reserves games last year, featured in eight senior matches after recovering from surgery.
He finished the grand final with a limp after suffering a corkie to his hip in the first quarter but the Saints' thrilling three-point win helped numb the pain.
MORE GRAND FINAL:
Jayden Watson missed all of last season with a foot injury. He also copped a hip injury in today’s grand final but you couldn’t wipe the smile off his face after winning his third flag with @kfncweb. #HampdenGF@WboolStandardpic.twitter.com/q4ZdEcFQeV— Justine McCullagh-Beasy (@JustineMB_29) September 21, 2019
Watson said the premiership was extra special after watching from the sidelines 12 months ago.
"It means everything. It is pretty heart-breaking to miss one," he said.
"Halfway through the year when you don't think you're going to play and you have that long rehab recovery process by yourself sometimes (it becomes hard).
"It's had its ups and downs and it was tough mentally sometimes and you just want to be out there training.
"It is just overwhelming (to be back and win another flag) and I'm more than ever grateful."
The utility said he was pleased with how he battled on after hurting his hip flexor early in the game.
"I had a heap of deep heat on it and kept it warm and just had to grit the teeth in the last quarter," he said.
"I am a bit worse for wear now but there's plenty of time to recover.
"I thought I contributed where I could, one percenters, and all the other boys just make it easy to play and that's why the club has been so successful I think.
"Just to fit in and play your role is pretty easy."
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.