Sydney Roosters co-captain Boyd Cordner says his injury-enforced lay-off has him fresh and excited about the looming NRL finals.
The NSW skipper hadn't played since early July when he aggravated a knee injury in the State of Origin decider but jumped back in the deep end in his team's top of the table clash with Melbourne.
After trailing all game, the Roosters looked like they'd snatched an unlikely win at AAMI Park with a Luke Keary field goal only for the Storm's Joe Stimson to cross in the 78th minute to make it 16-13.
The Roosters sit third on the ladder, with the same points as Brisbane, while Melbourne have moved six points clear.
Cordner said his team needed to improve their game management when the pressure was on.
"We need to better in those positions," the second-rower said.
"You shouldn't lose from that position, with that long to go."
The 25-year-old played 80 minutes and said he came through it well.
He said the Roosters' good form meant there was no pressure on him to make an early comeback.
"The body is good - it would have been better after a win but it's good to be back playing footy," Cordner said.
"It was a good chance for me to get my body right after a big Origin series and I'm feeling good and excited where were goig to head in the back end of the year."
Cordner's Blues teammate Blake Ferguson looked in serious trouble when he was tackled in the air and landed on his shoulder attempting to take a high ball.
The winger was writhing in pain on the ground, but after medical treatment on the field played out the game.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson said he didn't appear to have done any serious damage
"It was probably more shock," Robinson said post-match.
"He's got ice on it and it's a bit sore."