Like a kid in a candy store, Josh Hodgson got through his return unscathed.
Now he's got his sights set on getting back to being an 80-minute player. Even as early as round one against the Wests Tigers in a fortnight.
The England international played the first half in the Canberra Raiders' pre-season trial against the Sydney Roosters, which they lost 26-20 at Seiffert Oval on Saturday.
He had a bit of a limp early on, but it was just a knock on his knee and he played out the 40 minutes.
Fiery Raiders forward Corey Horsburgh was put on report twice in two games for shoulder charges, with the Raiders' NSW Cup team also having a hitout, while he was also involved in some push and shove with Roosters second-rower Angus Crichton.
It was Hodgson's first game since round nine last season when he did his knee for the second time.
"[It was] pretty good mate, I was like a kid in a candy sweet shop today to be honest," he said.
"I was a bit too excited this morning so tried pulling the reins back a little bit and I just really enjoyed getting out there again mate.
"I still love my job. I really don't see it as a job, I see it as a paid hobby because I absolutely love it and it's just being out there doing what you love."
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Canberra's back-up hookers, Tom Starling and Siliva Havili, both got plenty of time across the two trials.
And Hodgson thought Raiders coach Ricky Stuart might look to have one of them on the bench for that opening round clash against the Tigers at Canberra Stadium on March 14.
But his goal is to spend every minute he can out on the field - although he said that would come down to Stuart.
"I'm guessing so [the plan is to play 80 minutes]. You'll have to ask the boss on that one," Hodgson said.
"Lungs felt good. The first 20 felt cooked, but once I got that second wind I felt good, 40 felt good.
"That's up to the boss. Tommy had a great year for us last year and Liva had another good stint tonight so maybe carry two hookers and see what happens.
"Whatever's best for the team. I'd love to stay on the field for 80 minutes, but if it's better for the team I'll play a bit less."
Raiders recruit Ryan James also impressed in his first game back since 2019 after undergoing two knee reconstructions.
Both he and Emre Guler were given first crack in the middle forwards off the bench.
Hudson Young impressed on the right edge, filling the spot vacated by the departed John Bateman, scoring the Raiders' opening try.
It looks like a battle between Seb Kris and Harley Smith-Shields for left centre if Canberra co-captain Jarrod Croker (shoulder) isn't ready for round one.
NRL PRE-SEASON TRIAL
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 26 (Sitili Tupouniua, Lindsay Collins, Sam Walker,Daniel Tupou, James Tedesco tries; Sio Siua Taukeiaho 2, James Tedesco goals) bt CANBERRA RAIDERS 20 (Hudson Young, Joe Tapine, Jack Wighton, Albert Hopoate tries; George Williams 2 goals) at Seiffert Oval.