It has been 561 days since Roosters centre Blake Ferguson last played in the NRL.
Despite having only played two trials over the course of the past 18 months, the one-time New South Wales Origin representative has been ticking all the right boxes according to new coach Trent Robinson.
After scoring a double while playing for the Tricolours' feeder club Wyong Roos a fortnight ago, Ferguson backed himself against plenty of big names in the Sea Eagles squad on Saturday night and earned the praise of Robinson.
"I think definitely after 18 months of not playing, it's a big ask for him to get straight back into footy and I think he's had two games where he's done really well coming back," Robinson said.
"He's always had class but it's a matter of is he going to combine well, is he going to run well, how is his timing and all that so I think he's had a fair start to his return.
"People will say his footy will get better as the year goes on but I think he's really well-placed to start the season well.
"The important thing was to give him as much time as possible on the field. He played almost the whole game bar the final couple of minutes [against Manly] because of a slight ankle complaint but he had some nice, physical carries and also his defence was quite physical too.
"He had some nice combinations with Mitchell Pearce and Shaun Kenny-Dowall there so that was good, and I'd say it was a good step up from his game with Wyong a fortnight ago. Now he's ready for the big one and so I've really enjoyed working with him and Kenny Dowall and their combination."
Wing partner Shaun Kenny-Dowall, much like his coach, is excited by the presence of Ferguson at the club.
Accustomed to playing in the centres for the Tricolours and Kiwis, Kenny-Dowall has had to make do on the wing throughout the pre-season thanks to Ferguson's signing.
"Fergo is awesome. I know he has a lot of talent and a lot of flair and I'm really looking forward to it. He's an excitement machine really," Kenny-Dowall told NRL.com.
"I don't mind [playing on the wing]. I've played plenty of football there before and it is what is best for the team at the moment. I'm just happy that I'm still in the club's best 17."