Adam Quinlan produced a nerveless display to inspire Hull KR to a much-needed win on Saturday – but the full-back admitted there were butterflies as he prepared to make his long-awaited comeback.
All eyes were on Quinlan against Warrington Wolves and the Australian did not disappoint, capping a man of the match performance with the winning try late on.
It had been a long road to recovery and there was a sense of frustration as the finish line came into view.
“I was quite nervous today really getting back out there,” the 26-year-old said following the 16-14 victory.
“I spoke to Ryan Shaw, one of our wingers, yesterday and said if he got it off a kick return just hit me early just so I can get one out of the way and get rid of the nerves.
“That meant I didn’t have much time to think and it was good just to get it out of the way and then I just tried to slot back in.
“It was good work from all the other boys during the game and I was just lucky enough to finish it off.
“It feels really good to be back. It’s been a long time I’ve been out and I’ve put a lot of hard work in on the training pitch so it’s good to get through a game unscathed.
“The last six weeks have been probably the hardest as I’ve been close to getting back out there and that’s dragged a bit.
“But I put all the hard work in and I have to thank all my trainers and medical staff for getting me primed to play today.
“I’m just happy for myself and for them that I got out there and got through the 80 minutes fine.”
KR went into round 18 joint bottom of Super League and that is how they ended it after London Broncos’ impressive win over Catalans Dragons.
But Rovers did manage to drag a number of teams back into the scrap for survival thanks to Ryan Shaw’s touchline conversion, the winger proving why he is one of the competition’s top goal kickers.
“It’s a massive win,” said Quinlan. “Obviously the position we’re in and we’ve let a lot of close ones slip this year especially at home here so it was good to not let that one go and get the two points and now we can build on that.
“I don’t think I even turned around when he was kicking it.
“I was just waiting for the crowd (reaction). He’s a great kicker and spends a lot of time practising and he nails them from everywhere so I was quite confident in him and when I heard the crowd go up I was quite happy.”
The Robins have little time to savour their victory over high-flying Warrington, with a crucial clash with London in the capital up next on Thursday.
After nine months on the sidelines recovering from his serious knee injury, Quinlan is understandably keen to get back out there despite the short turnaround.
“I’ll just go with whatever the medical staff say,” he said.
“If they say I’m fine I’m happy to get back out there and it is a massive game with both of us being level on the table and down there they have been hard to beat this season. We’ll have to step it up this week as well.
“I felt quite comfortable so that’s good.”