As is the case when a player makes their return to the game, the attention and hype turns to them, and for Josh Dugan, the spotlight was on him – as coach St George Illawarra Dragons coach Steve Price hailed Dugan's performance in his first game for the club, in the 32-12 win over the Parramatta Eels.
Away from Dugan, however, it was perhaps the most polished performance the Dragons have put together all year, as on the back of brilliant metres and yardage made by their forwards, they got the required roll-on over the Eels and it led to points.
In front of over 17,000 fans, Price was full of praise for his side's new debutant.
“He is a winner and he expects perfection at all times. For his debut in the 'red v' it was a great performance,” Price said of Dugan.
“He fitted in really well during the week and I spoke to a few of the guys after the game and he was really steering them around and telling them where he wanted them to be and that is what you want from a class player.
“It was a great performance but there is a still a long way to go to get where he wants to be and where we want to be but it is a step in the right direction.
“It was great to score 32 points, we haven't scored 32 points in a while.
“I was pleased because that was our best attacking display of the year, especially in the first forty minutes.”
Like any player in a situation like this, there is always nerves and for Dugan, it was no different.
“That is a big weight off my shoulder,” he said.
“I was a bit nervous before the game but once I got my hands on the ball I was back in the groove.”
The Eels managed to make a bit of a late run and get some momentum but the game was lost by that time – with rookie lock Peni Terepo nabbing two tries.
“The first 25-30 minutes were very frustrating and that was where the game was won,” Eels coach Ricky Stuart said.
“St George played very well. They controlled the ball very well. (But) we didn't lose through lack of effort.”
3. Josh Dugan
2. Peni Terepo
1. Jack de Belin