Relieved Huddersfield Giants captain Leroy Cudjoe says he came through his first game in nine months with “no issues.”
The ex-England centre made a try-scoring return in Thursday’s 20-6 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup defeat to Catalans Dragons.
The lungs were struggling at certain times but that was more to defending the majority of the first half than anything else.Leroy Cudjoe
He had been sidelined since last September due to a serious knee injury.
Speaking about his comeback, Cudjoe, 30, told The Yorkshire Post: “To be honest, once I got into the changing rooms before the game it was just straight into routine.
“Warm-up takes your mind off things and it was just game day as usual. I came through well.
“The lungs were struggling at certain times but that was more to defending the majority of the first half than anything else.
“But knee-wise it felt really good and will only get better. I was pleased to get through the game with no issues; I’ve still got stuff I need to work on but I’m happy to get that game in the bank and now I can build on that.”
That said, it was an opportunity missed for Huddersfield to be in tomorrow’s semi-final draw given they led 6-4 after Cudjoe’s try early in the second period.
But he maintained: “We just made too many errors and gave away too many penalties.
“You can’t win games giving up so much ball and position. We spent all the first half defending our line or coming off it yet was still in it which is a credit to our fitness and goal-line defence. But eventually it was too much.”
It has been a long road back to fitness for the Huddersfield-born star who battled the longest spell on the sidelines in his career yet.
He insisted: “I was always confident I’d get back; I’ve been surrounded by good people in the club: previous medical staff and new. And I’ve a great set of family and friends who are very supportive and positive.
“Catalans was a stepping stone to getting back to the performance I know I can deliver.”
But it was a first defeat in five games for Giants who, in Super League, have risen up to eighth ahead of Friday’s trip to champions Leeds Rhinos.
“That’s a massive game for us now as we aim to keep our Super 8s spot,” added Cudjoe, whose return coincided with coach Simon Woolford’s first game in charge.
“But so is every game for us just like last year when we went on a good run. This year we will need to do the same.
“Simon’s been good; he’s a very smart coach that knows the game inside out while also he’s been very demanding in what he expects. The more we as a team spend time with Simon I feel everyone will improve individually and as a collective.”