High-profile Eels recruit Reagan Campbell-Gillard admits he had some nerves before Friday's trial against Souths but was delighted with how comfortable he felt in his first hit-out since leaving Penrith.
The once-capped NSW Origin forward was given the first 20 minutes of the 28-24 loss and didn't have to do much tackling as the Eels dominated the early exchanges, but weighed in with some hefty carries before going off with plenty of gas in the tank.
"I asked at half-time if I could go another 10 minutes but it was a firm no," Campbell-Gillard said.
"We had a lot of boys that needed some game time so that was always the plan, myself and Brad [Arthur] sat down a few weeks ago.
"I tried to twist his wrist a little bit to get a few more minutes but 20 minutes and just to get back in the groove, get your timing and everything like that, preparation.
"I've started trialling and felt really good for that first 20 so we'll see what happens next week."
Despite barely raising a sweat, RCG was relieved to blow the cobwebs out.
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"It's finally good to start playing some football again," he added.
"It's been a long pre-season, I've been there from day one. To get the game under the belt and blow out the cobwebs, I feel pretty good.
"I was pretty nervous coming towards the game. It's like the first day of school, you don't really know what to expect but I feel really comfortable with the team and the club at the moment and once you pull the jersey on it's just football again.
"It will take a bit of time to remember that it's a different jersey but so far so good."
There was nothing fancy from the Eels as they worked the revamped forward pack finding some momentum as the main playmakers sat out.
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"It's all new plays, new systems, new players I've got to get used to," Campbell-Gillard added.
"You can train all you like but game-related it's something that's still fresh and I've definitely got to figure out everyone's strengths and weaknesses.
"There's only so much you can do in 20 minutes so it's hard to put a judgement on how I felt but lung-wise I felt really good. See what happens when I get a few more minutes."
He anticipated that happening in Bega next week when he takes on former club Penrith in the final trial before round one.
"I'm pretty sure we'll have a pretty good side next week," he said.
"It's our last hit-out then a 12-day turnaround before we kick off. Everyone's going to want to put in their best effort. Next week I'm pretty sure I'll be getting more than 20 so pretty excited."