He may have scored a try in a Grand Final, but Alex Foster does not feel like any hero right now.
The Castleford Tigers back rower has seen his career go through a remarkable turn round this year from having no club to playing and scoring in a Super League final in front of more than 72,000 at Old Trafford.
But the shine was very definitely taken off the 24-year-old’s season by the Tigers’ deflating 24-6 defeat to former club Leeds Rhinos.
He said: “Scoring a consolation try at Old Trafford is probably one of the worst feelings I’ve been through in my life.
“Not having anyone to congratulate you, knowing we had lost the game and not done ourselves justice, was a really empty feeling.
“On a personal note, for all my journey this year, it seems really disappointing we couldn’t have got the win.
“Maybe it will sink in a bit later, but to finish like that is just a massive shame.”
Castleford have a long time to dwell on their poor performance with a break now before the start of pre-season training in November and Foster wishes they had another game coming up sooner.
“To play the way we have this season and be so convincing in what we’ve done and then rack up a performance like that, it has really, really hurt us.
“I wish we could play again this weekend.
“It’s months until the next game comes around so it’s a long time before we can right the wrongs and a long time to mull over what has happened. I think the best thing we can do is put it behind us and really prepare for next year.”
Tigers did win a first-ever League Leaders’ shield and finished 10 points clear of second-placed Leeds, but Foster desperately wanted to add the big one.
He added: “The Grand Final is the big competition. It is the one everyone wants to win and we haven’t won it, we have fallen at the final hurdle.
“We are really happy we’ve come away with some silverware to give to the fans after 91 years of not finishing top of the major league.
“That’s the major plus, but we should have put a better performance together for the final because that’s what the fans deserve. After coming to games week in and week out and watching us play how we know we can play, it is really disappointing.”