Midfielder Rostyn Griffiths resigned himself to a loungeroom supporting role during his former club Central Coast Mariners' journey in the AFC Champions League.
Now he wants to play an active part in the blue riband event of Asian club football with Guangzhou R&F.
Griffiths quit the Mariners in the second part of the last A-League season to sign a two-year contract with the Chinese club.
"I was really, really looking forward to playing in this year's ACL before the opportunity to join Guangzhou came up," the 24-year-old said.
"I always wanted to play against the best Asian teams and in a way it's a shame I'm not playing for the Mariners anymore.
"I'm disappointed also because they are a great group of boys.
"I still support them and I followed their match against Nagoya Grampus online, same as I have done for all their A-League and ACL matches since I left.
"I thought they did particularly well to get that 5-1 win over Tianjin two weeks ago."
Guangzhou's strong start to the Chinese Super League season has rekindled English-born Griffiths's dream of playing in the ACL.
The team trails leader and crosstown rival Guangzhou Evergrande by one point after 10 matches and if current form is maintained, Griffiths should reach his Asian ambition in 2013.
"The chance to play in my first ACL is providing me with an incentive to do well with Guangzhou and finish in the top three, which would guarantee us participation," he said.
"Our coach (Sergio Farias) is pretty keen to get back in the ACL because he has won it in 2009 with Pohang Steelers.
"The fans now realise that we are going to be quite competitive this season and the big boss who owns the club has told us he is expecting us to go on and make the ACL next season."
Griffiths, who made his name as a skilful defensive midfielder with North Queensland Fury and later with the Mariners, said he was taken aback by the overall level of the Super League.
"I've been surprised with the standard actually," he said.
"The games are quite good and the players generally have high individual technique.
"The weather's a bit cooler so the pace tends to be faster than that in Australia.
"The main difference is over here play is less structured because players do not have the same tactical discipline you find in the A-League.
"My Aussie 'background' has come in handy because I'm probably the only one in the team who sticks to his position for the whole match and keeps the team ticking over.
"The forwards generally do not track back when we lose the ball so that gives us at the back more work ... thankfully our four defenders are pretty solid."
Griffiths is one of five foreigners in the Guangzhou club that is chasing its first Chinese championship.
The other four are Brazilian, same as coach Farias.
"We play with four at the back, three in the middle and three up front and I'm the defensive midfielder," Griffiths explained.
"Two of the Brazilians are pretty good, especially our No 10 Davi, and we've also got a couple of talented Chinese blokes.
"The coach likes us to pass the ball, dominate possession and attack as much as possible but in some games, because the attackers are just attackers and don't defend, we have to do a lot of defending."
Griffiths said he has just about adjusted to life in southern China and was pleased to note that the city of Guangzhou was as appealing and easy to live in as he was led to believe.
"I was told by the club that it is one of the best in China and I'm enjoying the city because it is modern and clean and has a 'western' feel to it," he said.
"The food is good and there are many places serving 'western' fare.
"You see some things you are not used to in some takeaway places but touch wood I have never been sick."
Griffiths has become a popular figure among Guangzhou's fans and he was invited to join the Chinese version of Twitter called Weibo. What followed staggered him.
"I got a 1000 followers on the first day and I'm up to about 3000 now and I've been on it for only five days," he said.
"The problem is that the vast majority of the tweets are in Chinese and I can't understand a thing. Thankfully some of them are in English."
Central Coast Mariners
Central Coast Mariners has agreed a deal to sell Oliver Bozanic to Swiss Super League side FC Luzern - with a paperwork issue holding up the deal.