Jack Bird wants to make his NRL return at left centre for St George Illawarra after getting through his first match in almost 12 months unscathed.
Bird played 25 minutes as planned in the Dragons' 28-6 pre-season loss to Parramatta, but crucially left the ground with no concerns over his knee.
The 25-year-old has not played an NRL match since May 2019 at Brisbane, before missing the rest of that season with a sternum injury.
He returned in one trial at fullback for Brisbane last February, but went down on the eve of the first round with a second ACL injury in three years.
Bird has mostly trained in the second row at the Dragons, but told coach Anthony Griffin last week he would rather ease back to match fitness at centre.
The move has also coincided with the club's decision not to pursue Israel Folau, leaving Brayden Wiliame as the other option at left centre.
"I told Hook (Anthony Griffin) I would rather play centre," Bird said.
"He asked why and I said I had played centre at the Sharks for two years and got used to it and moulded myself to it.
"It's probably too early for me to jump in the middle.
"Hook was trying to help my knee out a bit by (not) doing lateral movements and steps (in the middle), but I'm not much of a stepper anyway.
"That might come one day when I get a bit of confidence in my knees."
Bird expects to play more there in next week's Charity Shield, but his brief involvements were promising on Thursday night at Kogarah.
He laid on a break in the lead up to the Dragons' only try, forcing an error with a hard hit before putting Mat Feagai down field with a slick underarm pass.
Fellow new recruit Andrew McCullough also got through 20 minutes without concern, in his first game back since a hamstring tendon rupture last July.
Will Smith impressed for Parramatta, scoring one try and setting up another in his push for the club's No.14 jersey before the match was called with 11 minutes to go.
Oregon Kaufusi also scored one try and Isaiah Papalii was also powerful, with both sides running teams of players who had limited first-grade exposure last year.
In the only real injury concern, Eels recruit Michael Oldfield suffered a knee injury after just 12 minutes which could hurt his push to claim a centre spot.
Australian Associated Press
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.