Prop forward Liam Higgins launched his battle for a regular starting place in Sheffield Eagles team in the win at Barrow Raiders.
Higgins had been out of action for nearly three months with ankle and calf injuries but came through two spells of action without a problem.
“It was fine; I’m happy with my fitness but I wasn’t happy with my timing but that will come with more game time,” he said.
“I worked hard on my fitness while I was injured and I think that game time showed I can cope.”
Coach Mark Aston was pleased with Higgins performance and stamina after the long lay-off.
Having the experienced forward available in the squad is a boost with Whitehaven coming to Don Valley on Sunday and quarter-final games in the Northern Rail and Challenge Cup coming up.
Aston acknowledged: “His first spell was good, the second wasn’t as effective but he was always going to ‘seize up’ that little bit not having played for weeks.
“I didn’t expect to get 25 minutes out of Liam in the first half.
“I just told him to blast himself for 10 minutes then come off but he looked good and was strong and we left him out there.”
Former Castleford, Hull FC and Wakefield front rower Higgins is one of a group of forwards challenging for a regular starting role following the retirement of Jack Howieson.
He faces competition for Eddie Battye, Dario Esposito and Ben Gledhill on loan from Salford Reds.
Higgins looked to be the leading contender before an ankle injury in early March was followed by a calf strain.
“Hopefully there’ll be no reaction during training this week and I’ll be playing next Sunday,” he said.
Samoan international fullback Quentin Laulu-Togagae, who scored a hat-trick of tries at Barrow, has been named in the Championship team of the week.