Chris Mayne and his partner shut themselves off from AFL media at the height of last year's controversy over his Collingwood contract.
After returning to form with 18 games this season, Mayne's circumstances are far removed from last year when he became a lightning rod for criticism.
The former Fremantle forward had joined the Magpies at the end of 2016 on a lucrative deal and he was a whipping boy as Mayne only managed three games and Collingwood missed the finals again.
Last September, his father vented on Twitter and accused coach Nathan Buckley of throwing Mayne under the bus.
But Mayne has bounced back superbly and he says the support of his partner Britt Nicholas has been pivotal.
"It was extremely tough, but I think it took halfway through the year, when my partner probably deleted the AFL app, got rid of the papers, got rid of all social media and (we) just stopped listening to the white noise," he said
"That's what it was - people didn't know my circumstances, my family's, my partner's."
At the end of last year, Mayne and Nicholas also took stock.
There was no end of season trip as Mayne switched to a vegan diet and launched into a massive off-season training regime.
Now he is an established senior player at the Magpies, he is much happier at the club and they are back in the finals.
Mayne and Nicholas will also marry later this year.
"In my eyes and people close to me, we haven't looked back - we keep trying to fight for that seat on the bus," he said.
"It would be a great year in the end, win a premiership, get married, go on a honeymoon and then start on the little ones.
"I've always envisaged having all those."
Mayne was solid in last Saturday night's narrow qualifying loss to West Coast, playing a solid shut down role on Jeremy McGovern after the Eagles defender had a strong start to the game.
Life is good - and Mayne is using the AFL app again.
"Things didn't stick straight away ... but I wasn't going to die wondering," he said
"It's been great and it can be even better.
"I snuck the app back in - I'm a bit of a footy head, so it's hard not to be involved."
Australian Associated Press