Out-of-favour Wests Tigers playmaker Josh Reynolds has overcome a series of nerves to make a successful comeback in reserve grade on Sunday afternoon.
The 29-year-old has been left out of Michael Maguire's first-grade side over the past fortnight after he was restricted to just five games in 2018 with hamstring and shoulder injuries plaguing him.
Reynolds starred for Western Suburbs with two tries and four assists in their 48-10 thumping of the Warriors in club's curtain raiser.
"I'm honestly so happy to play a game, it was a big relief," Reynolds said.
"I figured out I haven't played a full game since round five last year. I was nervous, I was spewing before the game and I never do. You have your doubts having not played for a long time.
"The best thing I took out of today was that I had so much fun, coming back with a bit less pressure and the group of boys I come back to make it so easy, just a great bunch of guys and I'm glad I got to do the first one like that."
Reynolds joined the Wests Tigers in 2018 as a marquee man and he's felt the pressure from fans to repay the faith given his injury history.
The Campbelltown crowd gave a standing ovation to the former Bulldog following the result.
"It was nice, I was getting a bit of spray from the other side saying you've got to play first grade," Reynolds said.
"It's out of my power but it comes with the territory. I come over here and am expected to play good footy and I haven't been able to do that. If you look at it in that sense they're right and it comes with playing footy."
Reynolds remained upbeat about the situation despite the initial disappointment of missing out in the Wests Tigers' opening two games.
He said Maguire had instructed him to work on defensive aspects of his game.
"It hurts me, absolutely hurts me. Last year I was injured and this year I wasn't picked," Reynolds said.
"I'm not going to carry on, I'm just going to play footy and when the time comes I'll be ready to go.
"It's more my defence, he knows my attack will come and I'll work on my tempo but just winning my tackles.
"Hopefully they seen that today. I feel I was competitive and did a few good things so that's what I want to continue."