Luke Gale modestly deflected being the hero of the hour for Castleford Tigers after he had just kicked his team into their first-ever Super League Grand Final.
Gale has had an interesting few weeks. Crowned Albert Goldthorpe Medal winner, named in the Dream Team, named Rugby League Writers’ Player of the Year and shortlisted for Man of Steel. Then there was that emergency appendix operation that threatened to derail the exciting end to of the half-back’s brilliant season with Castleford so close to glory and the World Cup with England beckoning.
But not only did Luke get off the sick bed in quick time he was back playing within 16 days, training in fact within 14 days, and playing the key part to a memorable night at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
A try in the second half and four goals from four attempts was merely routine perhaps for Super League’s top scorer of 2017 before all the drama to come - a last second penalty of the type that could easily be missed - ask St Helens’ Mark Percival who done exactly that for his team in the game.
Gale nervelessly slotted the kick to give the Tigers a draw in 80 minutes and send the play-off semi-final into extra-time then came up with the golden point, a beautifully struck drop-goal to seal his place in Castleford folklore.
Afterwards a never to be forgotten game, he said: “Wow, we thought we’d blown in there and then it comes down to the last second and that’s my job really to drop therm goals.
“It was an awesome game, what a great spectacle, let’s hope the Grand Final can be a bit like that.
“What an amazing story we’ve been on this year. We knew we had some team here in pre-season and this just puts it into perspective.
“I am proud of the boys, what a great game.
“It was pretty special for me as well, laid up on a hospital bed two weeks ago thinking my season was over, but I believe in things happening for a reason and I knew I had the self believe to do that tonight.
“It doesn’t matter if there’s two men and a dog there on your local field or there’s 15,000 watching. The process is the same. I was just in my own head. I didn’t want to take more time just because it was a tougher kick or because it’s more pressure.
“You just have to go through the same routine and same processes as you always do. I was mindful of not taking too long over it. Just do the usual thing. And it went over.”
On his winning drop-goal Gale said: “I struck the first one (drop-goal attempt) well so I knew that wasn’t a scuff; it was a decent kick and I just started it too left.
“So, when the second one came off I knew where it was going and I just started running.
“Probably 15 lads diving on me and my stomach didn’t help but it’s a special feeling; this is a special group of men. I’m honoured to be part of this team.”