Warriors recruit Gerard Beale made a successful return from a long injury layoff to make his club debut in the second tier Intrust Super Premiership side's 11-0 loss to Western Suburbs today.
Playing at centre in the reserve grade curtain raiser to the Warriors NRL clash against the Sydney Roosters at Mt Smart Stadium, Beale was solid in his first outing since suffering a twin fracture in his left leg during the Kiwis World Cup win over Samoa on the same ground last October.
The 27-year-old former Cronulla premiership winner had only signed to join the Warriors on a three-year deal less than two months earlier, and has spent the past six months working his way back to full fitness.
"It was sweet, the leg was sweet," said Beale.
"There are things I can work on which is what I expected so I'm really looking forward to getting back on the training field and getting that one out of the way.
"I was a bit rusty as is to be expected in my first game back but it feels good that I'm back out there now."
Beale admitted to having a mixture of feelings during the lead-up to the game.
"It was quite emotional," he said.
"Obviously my first game for the club and coming back from injury I was trying not to think about it but obviously you can't help that.
"I was a little bit nervous, not about the injury but just about playing now and realising that I'm ready to go and making sure now that I'm getting better.
"It was good, once I ran out on to the field and from the kickoff I was pretty much into it."
His return coincided with fellow centre and 167 game veteran Blake Ayshford also making his comeback off the interchange bench from a back injury that has limited him to just two outings this season, with his last appearance coming against Wyong on March 31.
The duo's return to health further adds to the club's depth in the outside backs, behind first choice centres Solomone Kata and Peta Hiku, who will line up against the Tri-Colours in the NRL's Indigenous Round clash this afternoon, along with Anthony Gelling, who also appeared against the Magpies.
Warriors NRL coach Stephen Kearney said midweek that he expects it to take some time for Beale to regain full confidence, but predicted the 162 game veteran to push for a first grade spot in the near future.
The two-tries-to-none result leaves the Warriors reserve grade side with a five-and-five record to sit seventh on the competition ladder ahead of next Saturday's clash against St George Illawarra in Sydney.