Good eyes perfect finale to brutal season

·4-min read

The first time he struggled to get his breath back, Curtis Good knew something wasn't right.

Melbourne City were ravaged by a COVID-19 outbreak, like much of their home city, in late December and early January, with Good among a plethora of cases at the A-League Men champions.

But while many of his teammates made swift recoveries, Good's condition lingered.

He missed four league matches and an FFA Cup quarter-final amid seven weeks without an official game.

"It just hit me extra hard. I had trouble breathing when I came back and had to go away and see specialists to get that sorted. So that was a spanner in the works for me personally," Good told AAP.

"The actual COVID event was pretty much just like having like a bad flu. It was more the after-effects for me.

"Just struggling to get my breath, struggled to breathe, any intense stuff, I had a dizziness and couldn't breathe properly.

"I needed time above everything really. Thankfully, it was a period where the few games were called off so I didn't miss too much in the end, which was nice."

Desperate to get back on the pitch, Good found playing the waiting game proved the biggest hurdle.

"I came back after my quarantine for a day and straight away I was like 'no, I can't do this,'" Good said.

"Credit to the club, they sent everyone for blood tests and checked everyone's heart and that and it just came back that I wasn't quite right yet.

"So they gave me the time, I went to see a specialist and from there it was three weeks or so just to get back to normal.

Good would have had every right to look to the skies and ask "why me?"

After all, this is a player whose big break and six-year contract at Newcastle United was ruined by a chronic hip flexor injury suffered on his Socceroos debut in 2014.

City and Good carefully rebuilt his body, turning the left-footer into one of the league's most reliable and classiest central defenders.

So watching his teammates make seven-day returns from COVID-19 while he gradually built up fitness proved particularly frustrating.

"I have to admit it did hurt at the time. I didn't know what to expect but definitely didn't expect that," he said.

"It was disappointing to say the least, but luckily it wasn't too long which is a relief."

Good has barely missed a beat since his return in February, even briefly becoming the centre of a dispute between the Socceroos and City in March.

The 29-year-old hadn't been named on the Socceroos' long-list but amid a dearth of centre-backs, received a late attempted call-up for crunch games against Japan and Saudi Arabia.

He wanted to go, too, but City knocked back his request to leave amid a player shortage and a tight schedule.

"It was a pretty crap situation," he said.

"I asked to go to the Socceroos and then the Socceroos called me and said they'd speak to the club. From there it transpired that I wasn't on the list.

"We didn't have the players. The club tried to move the games and get them postponed and for some reason the league wouldn't let them because of scheduling.

"So then the club said 'we can't let him go because we can't field a team'.

"It was a bit unfortunate. It should always be a happy moment to get called up to the Socceroos. It was just an unlucky situation for me to be in personally."

With that brief saga well and truly in the rear view mirror, Good has kicked on to win a second consecutive premiers' plate.

Now he's eyeing a maiden grand final victory, with City on the verge of becoming the first ALM team to complete back-to-back premiership-championship doubles.

Good, Jamie Maclaren and Connor Metcalfe all missed out on last season's triumph, sitting in hotel quarantine while their teammates played then celebrated.

He believes the silverware will be all the more rewarding after a season smashed by COVID-19 outbreaks, border closures, fixture changes and tight turnarounds, and for City, an Asian Champions League campaign in Thailand that compounded it all.

"It was pretty tough last year being in the hotel, moreso being alone in the hotel. So I'm just thankful I'm involved this year," he said.

"For how hard everyone's found it, it would just make everything worth it.

"All the long days away, all the away trips or missing out on stuff at home, it would all just be worth it to lift that trophy."

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