Israel Folau scored a try six minutes into his Super League debut and the outstanding Sam Tomkins grabbed a hat-trick as Catalans Dragons beat Castleford Tigers 36-18 on Saturday.
All eyes were on Folau in his first rugby league match for a decade after he switched codes last month to make a controversial move to Perpignan.
Folau said he considered retirement after being sacked by Rugby Australia last May for posting homophobic comments on social media before joining Catalans in January.
The dual-code international, starting at centre, made up for lost time by rising to take a high kick from James Maloney and dotting down after Tomkins had already opened the scoring at Stade Gilbert Brutus.
ESSAI— Dragons Catalans (@DragonsOfficiel) February 15, 2020
Premier match, premier ballon et premier essai pour Israel Folau sur une passe au pied
Dragons 10 - 0 Tigers pic.twitter.com/nmXn6yzK77
Folau showed his strength in the air, holding another up-and-under following a juggling act, but came down just short of the line as Catalans continued to show plenty of attacking threat.
Samisoni Langi touched down for a third Dragons try, which Maloney converted, but tries from Derrell Olpherts and Cheyse Blair meant the Tigers were very much in it when trailing 20-12 at half-time.
Castleford were unable to contain Tomkins, though, the livewire full-back finishing nine minutes into the second half before darting inside to seal his treble towards the end of the contest.
Fouad Yaha also went over for Steve McNamara's men and Folau lasted the distance, showing some eye-catching touches in a promising start to his return to the 13-a-side format.
However, the 30-year-old will know he may not be in for such a warm welcome when Catalans travel to face Hull FC in their next outing.