Crocked winger Wayne Reittie was on backroom duty for Halifax at Keighley on Boxing Day - just 10 days after having extensive facial surgery.
Reittie, a regular on the flank in 2012 in his first season with the club, suffered horrific injuries after being attacked in Leeds city centre.
The incident is the subject of a police investigation, but Reittie admitted he was simply relieved to be able to be involved in Fax’s 42-16 pre-season opener.
“My eye socket was shattered in four places and I broke my cheekbone,” said Reittie.
“I’ve got two plates and a few screws in there now, but I’m on the mend.
“It was frightening; it’s not something I would wish on my enemy.
“It’s been a bad time, not being able to work, not being able to train.
“When you can’t play it makes you want to be involved even more.
“I was there on Boxing Day, putting the shirts out, running the kicking cone on and off, helping with the warm up.
“I just want to be there, doing what I can and keeping a tight bond with the rest of the lads.
“I suppose everyone will draw their own conclusions about what happened, but I know what went on and I’ve explained that to the people who matter.
“The police are involved obviously and I am the victim here, there is no doubt about that.”
Reittie hopes to be playing again in March and paid tribute to the medics who rebuilt his face.
“People keep telling me it looks well and I take my hat off to the surgeons, you wouldn’t know I only had it done 10 days ago,” he said.
“I’ve got three separate scars around my eye socket, but at first glance it just looks like I have a black eye so they have done a great job.
“The recovery is eight to 12 weeks, but I recover fast so I’m hopeful of being back sooner rather than later.
“I’m back in the gym doing weights next week so I’ve got a couple of months to get fit and I’ll come back bigger and better.
“I’ve never had a serious injury like this, and it can dent your confidence.
“But I am a confident person and it will only make me stronger as a person.”