New Souths hooker Robbie Farah was a surprise inclusion in his club's trial match against Manly on Saturday night and eased through his 40-minute stint with no dramas and a few nice touches.
Although his team lost 22-16 – and did not score a point during his spell on the field – the Wests Tigers club great was solid in his first outing in cardinal and myrtle.
Farah showed he was happy to scoop the ball up on the fly and scoot from dummy half – a weapon in his game he was instructed to keep holstered during an unhappy last few games under Jason Taylor at Concord – and an early dart almost led to what would have been an impressive solo try had the defence not scrambled to knock the ball loose as Farah went to score.
The Blues rake also produced a nice cut-out ball that led to his winger crossing the line on the left flank but again the defence was able to hold out.
Speaking after the game, Maguire said he was pleased with the hit-out overall and Farah's contribution.
"They put a lot of effort into their pre-season and they were able to take a lot of that out on the field," Maguire said.
"We had a mixture of a number of our second grade and even some of our under-20s come in getting experience so from a hit out point of view I was pleased."
He described the night as "a good little hit-out" for Farah.
"He hadn't played in a fair while but he's been a pro all the way through and it was good to see him get through 40 minutes," Maguire said.
"I like to see more and more as we keep moving forward. It was 40 minutes and the combinations are going to grow. Just building combinations is a big one for him at the moment."
Arguably the most encouraging sign for Rabbitohs fans from the night was the powerful form of prop George Burgess, who showed plenty of intent in some muscular early hit-ups.
Burgess – an absolute wrecking ball in the club's 2014 premiership run – was badly hindered by a series of injuries in 2016 including hip,
"I was pleased with George, he's obviously put a lot of work in over the last sort of month and a bit so he's got to keep doing it now, that's the key," Maguire said.
"He was able to get out, his movement was better but I still think there's a lot left in him too."
Maguire indicated that most of the senior players would come back into the squad for the final trial match – next Sunday's Charity Shield against St George Illawarra.
"Obviously there's quite a mixture of players to come in, I had a number of senior guys sitting on the sidelines so a lot of those boys will come in and play and we'll put a lot of work into our structures at training, that's what we'll look to get out of that game," Maguire said.
This article first appeared on NRL.com