The signing of Casey McGuire by Parramatta in the off-season caused few ripples around the NRL, but on Saturday’s evidence that could soon change.

The 31-year-old former Brisbane utility has returned to Australia from a four-year stint with French side Les Catalans, and looked a class act against West Tigers at Campbelltown as the Eels eased to a 30-10 trial win.

Playing out of dummy-half, McGuire was sharp around the fringes of the ruck and gave Parramatta the energy in attack they so badly lacked last season.

Only Cronulla scoring fewer tries in 2010 as the Eels, pre-season premiership favourites, failed to make the finals.

McGuire, who started his career with the Eels before moving to the Broncos where he won a premiership in his last game for the club in 2006, said he was delighted to be back and relishing a return to the NRL.

“I loved my time in France, the lifestyle was fantastic and I had some great times, but I returned home for family reasons,” McGuire said.

“I asked my manager if there were any clubs available in the NRL and Parramatta came up and I am really grateful for the chance to come back to this club.

“I played here before when I was 18 and my memories of the place are very good.”

Much of Parramatta’s woes last year were in the halves and at hooker, with Daniel Mortimer in particular struggling to replicate his stunning debut season.

McGuire played down the importance of the trial win over the Tigers, but said the improvement from the team a week after losing to the Warriors in Auckland was hugely encouraging.

“We were good tonight and worked on what we didn’t do so well last week and at this stage of the year that is more important than results,” he said.

“There are some very good players here and playing behind that forward pack makes life a lot easier for us backs and allows us to play.

“But there is still a lot of improvement to come ahead of the new season.”

The signing of McGuire and fellow Queensland veterans Carl Webb and Chris Walker, as well as experienced New Zealand centre Paul Whatuira and former Manly and Penrith winger Chris Hicks, have led to many to question Parramatta’s recruitment policy.

However, McGuire said the combination of young and old could work in the Eels’s favour as they look to end their 25-year premiership hoodoo.

“We have a few older players here, but when you look around the place and see some of the talented younger players here it makes you realise what the potential could be,” he said.

“Us older guys are sort of feeding off the younger players’ enthusiasm and it is going well at the moment.”