Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce has celebrated the contribution of stand-in striker Ritchie de Laet, shifted from full-back to forward in their 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar.
De Laet scored the only goal of the game in City's triumph at AAMI Park on Friday night.
It was the first time a marquee led City's line since Bruno Fornaroli was put on ice, and the Belgian repaid his coach to earn the club a third-straight win.
But the 30-year-old might not had been there at all had he taken his doctor's advice.
Joyce had previously spoken of a mystery ailment troubling his star defender, revealing under pressure that a foot problem should have put him on the sidelines.
"Four weeks ago he was diagnosed he was going to be out for two months. He was told to rest. He didn't choose to rest," Joyce said.
"He's showed a great act of unselfishness because he's put his career at risk.
"If it had gone pear-shaped, he'd be going back from here with no contract to England, maybe injured.
"You get some players that are selfish and just care about money and looking after themselves, having a nice lifestyle, having nice meals.
"He could have stayed here, injured, gone to the tennis, gone out to nice restaurants, pottered around and had a great life.
"But he's put himself out there and put himself up to be shot.
"We've had to manage him through it. He's had injections nearly every game. But he's shown a desire to come to the country and play.
"It would have been an easy choice to duck it."
The pair previously worked together at Manchester United, where Joyce was reserve team coach.
It was there that Joyce learned that de Laet grew up as a striker, giving him confidence to try him up front against the Roar.
Joyce's celebration of de Laet's team-first style typifies the coach's disciplinarian ways.
Individuals not willing to toe his line - think Neil Kilkenny, Tim Cahill, Fernando Brandan and now Bruno Fornaroli and Anthony Caceres - are shown the door.
Those willing to step to his beat, like de Laet and other youngsters, are trumpeted.
And Friday night's result lifted City to 23 points, equal with Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC with Friday night's result, there could be something in it.
"The only time you look at the table is the end of the season," Joyce deadpanned.
Australian Associated Press