The switch, the hits, the pressure
A month later, I'm locked in a fascinating chat with Wales' most capped rugby union international, barely able to get a word in edgeways as he waxes lyrical about the addictive pull of league.
The 35-year-old ran in his first Super League try in Crusaders' terrific weekend win at Wakefield. Reason enough, I thought, to give the man they call 'Alfie' a bell, now the dust has settled on a blood and thunder first month in the game.
Thomas made his league debut against Catalan Dragons after 100 international union appearances for Wales, and three for the Lions
"The rugby league world is absolutely great, it's going really well for me," he told me, before talking about that famous first try in Crusaders colours. I sensed this breakthrough would be significant for Thomas, but when a man who has played 100 times for his country at union rates a relatively run-of-the-mill league try as a career highlight then it's clear it means a lot more.
"Scoring my first try was, for me, a massive moment of acceptance," he said. "Playing on the wing, there is pressure to score your first try. It is like a football club signing a new striker - there is pressure on him to score his first goal.
"It was one of my most memorable moments, and the special memory for me was all my team-mates piling on instantly so I couldn't even celebrate! It was awesome.
"To get that kind of respect from the players here in such a short space of time was really special for me. It was as though I had finally become a rugby league player. Seeing my name on the Wakefield scoreboard was the moment I felt I was actually part of this team and contributing something."
Not only was this a landmark moment for Thomas, and arguably for British sport, too, but it meant his arduous league baptism could be archived to the memory banks.
"You got smacked on your debut, didn't you?" I suggested, harking back to his short-lived bow against the raw French force of Catalans Dragons. Thomas laughed, before recalling the smashing he took before being helped off the field in a heap.
"I sat down with our assistant coach Iestyn Harris after that game and it was obvious where I'd gone wrong," he said. "I got whacked and beat up pretty badly. During the game, I thought to myself 'woah these are massive hits', but watching the game back it was clear I was just running really wrong. I was angle-running like a union player and not like a league player. We fixed that over one video session.
"I'm still doing little things wrong but that's because my instincts are still those of a union player. That will change."
So a month into the game, the big question: How does rugby league compare to union? We've seen Lee Smith and Chev Walker return from union after failing to make an impact, so how has Thomas found the adjustment the other way?
"The hits are without a doubt much bigger in league than union, it's a big difference," he said. "Players can line you up more and it is just pure, brute force in the tackle without worrying too much about the technique. It makes for much bigger hits but it also makes for more of a game, if I'm honest.
"There are a lot more deception plays going on, a lot more footwork than union, and a lot more tough-guy ball carriers. When you get a good mixture of all three, it makes for a really good game of rugby league."
Thomas clearly gets it, even after just two starts, and his enthusiasm is infectious. Even before that ill-fated debut, his coach, Brian Noble, told me Thomas would be a star. 'Nobby' called me after training one day raving about what he'd seen from his new winger. But Thomas is under no illusions how much he has to learn as he settles into his 18-month contract in the 13-man game.
"I never realised how much goes on that you don't actually see," he said. "I thought it must be an easy game to play, but now I know as an outsider you wouldn't have a clue about some of the things that go on, and that was a big wake-up call for me when I came here."
But what does Thomas really want to get out of this game? What goals does he have in this foray into league?
"A sportsman without ambition is, in my opinion, not a sportsman," he said with trademark resolve. "I always have huge ambition. Immediately I want to become a Crusaders regular and be a success here. The squad is talented, the coaches are amazing, and that is the perfect recipe for success.
"My ultimate ambition is to be part of a successful rugby league team in north Wales and I'd love the chance to play international league for Wales. Being a dual-code international is never something I could turn down. It would be brilliant."
My understanding is that Thomas may not be the last Welsh international to switch codes this year. Andy Powell - he of boozy late-night golf buggy fame - is my tip to join his former international team-mate at Crusaders, although talk of a switch for Gavin Henson is premature. Contact has been made between Henson's advisers and Crusaders, but Mr Charlotte Church (just engaged!) is in no rush to quit union just yet. Powell, though appears far more likely, and Thomas is keen to team up again and share this new challenge with his good pal.
"I know Powelly really well as a person and player and he will fit right into this squad," he reckons. "He's a fun guy with a top work ethic. He is big, fast, fit and has great feet, so he will take to this game brilliantly.
"I reckon it will take him a couple of weeks to adjust and then he will be a huge success. Age is on his side and I think, if and when he does come over to league, it could be the start of a journey that sees him end up playing international rugby league".
If Powell is tempted, he won't be short of advice from Thomas. The bigger picture, too, is that the Rugby Football League's gamble on giving this Welsh side a licence is finally starting to look a decent call.