Now he has targeted making an RBS 6 Nations impression when Wales begin the defence of their championship crown next month, though he admits there is plenty of competition for back-row spots from skipper Ryan Jones and the fit-again Jonathan Thomas.
While openside flanker Martyn Williams is a shoo-in for the No 7 jersey, Powell, Jones and Thomas are ready to contest the remaining back-row spots.
"I have to keep playing well for the Blues and stay injury-free," said Powell. "But I've worked hard and that's helped me.
"When I had all my injury problems I began to ask myself was the effort really worth it.
"I was putting so much in - but I wasn't getting anything out of it.
"But I kept on going and I'm so glad that I didn't give the game up."