Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will have a unique opportunity to reset his leadership when he returns to work this week, more than three months after fracturing his spine and breaking several ribs in a fall.
Mr Andrews slipped on stairs while getting ready for work at a Mornington Peninsula holiday rental on March 9.
According to government sources, he narrowly avoided permanent and "life-changing" spinal cord damage.
The 48-year-old was discharged from hospital on March 15 and has been recovering at home since.
His deputy James Merlino has been acting premier in his absence, steering the state through a fourth COVID-19 lockdown which left Victorians weary and cost their economy an estimated $1.3 billion.
An Essential poll conducted in early June for The Guardian showed 48 per cent of Victorians surveyed gave a favourable rating to the government - its lowest performance since last year's 112-day lockdown.
Polling by Resolve Strategic for Nine newspapers this month also pointed to a drop in support for the government, while Mr Andrews' popularity slipped.
Political scientist Zareh Ghazarian said Mr Andrews became a "polarising figure" during the state's second wave of COVID-19.
"He appeared in over 100 press conferences during last year's lockdown. People have been watching him every day, he was the source of news on whether case numbers have gone up or down," Dr Ghazarian told AAP.
"That gave voters a clear sense of whether they supported and liked the premier or whether they didn't."
Dr Ghazarian said Mr Andrews' forced absence has provided him with the opportunity to move away from crisis management and look towards the future, including a state election in November 2022.
"He's got the high profile but now he has the opportunity to come back and reinvent himself, to reset how he goes about things, do things a little bit differently," he said.
"Maybe that will transpire in terms of what he wears, how often he fronts the media," he added, referring to the North Face jacket that became synonymous with Mr Andrews' daily COVID-19 updates.
Ahead of his return on Monday, Mr Andrews released a video with his wife Catherine, during which he says has "unfinished business" in politics and will be contesting next election.
"When you have a traumatic moment in your life you kind of reassess things, you work out, you remind yourself of the things that are really really important," Mr Andrews said.
"Family is important, but so too is delivering for every family, working hard for every single Victorian family. That's the oath I swore. That's the job I've got."
Australian Associated Press