Given how his AFL season started, Christian Salem's durability over the last four months shows this is a player who relishes hard work and a challenge.
It is well-documented that the 28-year-old premiership defender did not return until round 10 because of a thyroid problem and then a knee injury.
Salem dropped 5kg because of the thyroid issue and he suspects that led directly to the knee problem, which also followed two knee surgeries last year.
So not the best AFL preparation, plus Salem remains on medication and he has fortnightly blood tests to monitor his thyroid condition.
He has not missed a game since returning to Melbourne's senior team.
"It's hard to explain ... I didn't really know how I would feel," Salem told AAP about round 10.
"To be able to get through so far, I still demand my standards - I want to keep improving and improving.
"But I've got my body in a spot now where I'm ready to reset and attack the finals series.
"It's exciting, I've been here for 10 years and this is only my fourth finals series. They don't come around every day."
The strength of mind inherent in Salem's successful comeback comes as no surprise to Demons captain Max Gawn.
"Sales is one of our biggest competitors. What you see on the outside is his silky left foot (kick) and that's fair enough, because it is a pretty silky left foot," Gawn said.
"But in terms of what we value internally, certainly he doesn't get beaten one-on-one and he's competitive, which if you look at the Melbourne DNA, I feel like they're two things we would put pretty high up on our whiteboard.
"We missed him in that first half of the year."
Gawn also noted that Salem's return has allowed fellow backman Trent Rivers more freedom to play up the ground and occasionally go into the midfield.
Indeed, the Demons boast a rock-solid backline. Rightly, there has been plenty of focus ahead of this finals series on St Kilda's defence under Ross Lyon and the All Australian seasons from Cal Wilkie and Jack Sinclair.
But in terms of points against, Melbourne are only 13 behind them as the most frugal team.
"Especially in finals and in big games, contest and defence stand up," Salem said.
"You don't see too many offence-exploiting sorts of games.
"We've built our game off contest and defence and we want to bring a high level of that.
"We've put ourselves in a good spot, a few good comeback wins, but it all goes back to zero-zero now."