Canterbury prop Luke Thompson is ready to put a difficult start to the 2021 Telstra Premiership season behind him after a successful return from a four-match ban in Saturday's loss to Storm.
Thompson was one of a few bright spots for Trent Barrett in the heavy defeat to the defending premiers with the England international jagging his first NRL try to go with 16 carries and 140 metres in a 50-minute effort.
The 25-year-old had to watch on from the sidelines in the opening month of the competition after a four-week suspension for an eye gouge in round 20 last year.
"It felt good to be back out there, it's been a long four weeks and long pre-season so just good to get some kilometres in the legs," Thompson told NRL.com.
"Sitting there watching the boys has been hard especially when we've been struggling a little bit.
"It wasn't the result again but there are good some signs, at least we put some points on the board and hopefully we can keep building on that.
"There were periods in the game I thought we had them but then there were little moments in the game we'd come up with a mistake and let them off."
Thompson gets his first NRL try
Thompson arrived in Australia in difficult circumstances midway through last season, leaving his partner behind in the UK with the COVID-19 pandemic restricting international travelling between borders.
Making matters worse, Thompson was put through 14 days of hotel quarantine before playing just one game under Dean Pay prior to the club parting ways with their coach.
The unsettling period led to speculation Thompson was battling homesickness and could return to the northern hemisphere less than 12 months into his three-and-a-half-year deal.
However, with his partner arriving in Australia late last year, Thompson is in a better place off-field and ready to live up to his status as one of the world's elite forwards after tasting success in the Super League.
"I'm enjoying and loving all of it now," he said.
"It was obviously tough at the start with a lot of uncertainty but it was good to get a break and have a bit of time to settle in over Christmas.
"I'm feeling really good. I don't think I've had a pre-season in three years with all the international duties so it's helped.
"I wanted to get over here but looking back doing it in the middle of a season I didn't have a lot of time to adapt.
"Baz (Trent Barrett) has been great to work with so far. I've felt sorry for him that we haven't been able to get a result so far but all the lads are on board and we'll keep working hard for him."
How good is Magic Round