Kyle Eastmond: “I thought it was going to be worse than what it was”

For Kyle Eastmond, despite not playing a game of either rugby code for 14 months, the return to the 13-a-side game was not as bad as what he thought it would be.

“I feel a bit relieved, so I’ve got something to go back on now and prepare myself,” Eastmond said.

“For me it’s about real action – I needed to get this one out the way, but I thought it was going to be worse than that.

“I’m not saying that disrespectfully, we’re professionals, we’re prepared to play the game.

“It’s interesting because I will have to look at last tackle plays again – it’s not instant for me to be counting tackles.

“I could hold the ball for as long as I wanted over the past ten years, so it’s something I will have to work on.”

All the training in the world couldn’t prepare the former Saints man for match fitness and Eastmond admitted he was rusty, though praised the rest of his teammates.

“It was my first game and working myself into the right positions and timings, I was always going to be rusty and it will improve.

“I thought the team did pretty well to be fair, we competed hard and they’ve got a lot of experienced players.

“I thought we had a real good effort there, a lot of lads really stood up especially the guys in the middle.

“There’s plenty for us to work on because for large parts of the game we were well in it.

“In the first-half, I reckon we could have been better with our last tackle plays and then could have adapted better in the second-half with the way Wigan were playing against us.

The diminutive figure looked to have taken a few knocks, but Eastmond was quick to dispel any fears.

“It was nice to get out there; I had a couple of bangs, but the main thing from me is that I’ve not played for over 12 months – there was always going to be issues with match fitness and sharpness but there was nothing serious.

“The team had really supported me going into it, I felt good, but the main thing is being out there on the field.

“I learnt more out there in one 80 minute spell than in the seven weeks I’ve been at the club.”

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