SAM Murray knew he had missed football after been sidelined for almost two years.
But the Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong recruit realised just how much during the third quarter of the Lions' one-point loss to Wagga Tigers at Ganmain on Saturday.
"My kicking wasn't too great on Saturday but I did hit Nick (young brother) with a good one and he kicked a nice goal," he said.
"It was a good moment.
"They are the sort of things you miss."
Murray was used predominantly in the midfield by coach Christin Macri and came through his first match since August 18, 2018, unscathed.
His preparation was limited by being in isolation for 14 days after returning to Henty from Melbourne before the closure on the border.
"I pulled up okay," Murray said.
"I started cramping pretty early in the game which wasn't ideal but it is what it is after two years out of the game.
"I was a bit drained at the end of the game physically and mentally which is what I expected.
"It was just good to be out there again."
Murray played his junior football for the Lions before moving to Henty where he played in a senior premiership as a youngster.
He then joined Wodonga Raiders and went on to play 13 AFL matches for Collingwood.
Murray tested positive to a match day drug test and was outed for 18 months.
The 22-year-old expects to be better for Saturday's hit-out in what shapes as a tight AFL Riverina Championship.
"It's been a long time since I played," he said.
"It was disappointing how the game ended (one-point loss) but I have missed playing.
"I got through which was good and I'll train on Thursday and play again on Saturday at Osborne.
"It was just good to get my hands on the footy again."
Nick Murray was one of the best players on the ground with four goals for Ganmain while Wodonga Raiders backman Matt Neagle provided plenty of dash.
Albury forward Brayden O'Hara shone on debut for Wagga Tigers after Border players were cleared to play by AFL Riverina's board last Friday.
Midfielders Jake Gaynor and Shaun Campbell added plenty of bite to the Tigers' line-up after missing the opening round loss to Osborne.
Wagga Tigers play undefeated Leeton-Whitton on Saturday while in-form MCUE take on winless Turvey Park.