It may not have ended as he would have liked, but weeks do not come much bigger than the last one for Castleford Tigers star Jake Webster.
The inspirational centre played for the Tigers in Saturday’s Grand Final just days after the birth of his first child.
A win would have been icing on the cake, but his new family meant the former New Zealand Test centre could put the disappointment behind him as soon as he got away from Old Trafford.
“I am going home to the best thing that could possibly happen,” Webster said in the wake of Tigers’ 24-6 defeat.
“I am still heartbroken about the result, but everything is put into perspective.
“I have got a baby boy, I have wanted one my whole life, now I have got him and he’s gorgeous and I can’t wait to see him.”
Webster and partner Misha Roby are still deciding on a name for the new arrival.
He said: “We are thinking about a couple, but at the moment we just call him JJ – Jake Junior or Baby Jake.
“We’ll come up with a name in the next few days.”
Webster will be mulling over the on-field events of last weekend during the sleepless nights ahead.
The inquests into Tigers’ defeat are set to continue until the start of pre-season and beyond, but Webster believes it boils down to them being well below their high standards and Rhinos taking full advantage.
Castleford made eight 18 handling errors as they struggled to keep possession and play their normal attacking game, probably due to the pressure of the occasion and awful wet conditions.
Webster accepted they were outplayed on the night and said: “They handled the conditions better and handled the occasion better.
“I think it was the worst we’ve played this season and we got what we deserved.
“At half-time we still thought we had it in us, but you can’t win a game with that many errors.
“I don’t think there was any one key moment, but we kept dropping the ball on the first and second tackle.
“No one’s ever going to win a game playing like that.”
Castleford have been made early favourites to win the 2018 Grand Final after the majority of their campaign went superbly, seeing them finish 10 points clear at the top of the table.
The Grand Final was only their seventh defeat in 34 competitive games and with most of the squad remaining in place next year, they are well placed to compete well again. They can look to the Rhinos as an example as they lost on their first Grand Final appearance, but have now won it eight times.
Webster does not believe in the cliche ‘you have to lose a final to win one’, but feels Tigers will be better for the experience of last week’s build-up and the game itself.
“That’s what everyone says, but it’s not true,” he added. “We had everything we needed to win that game, but credit to Leeds – they did the job.
“They have been there plenty of times before and they know how to handle the occasion. We just got overwhelmed, but we will learn from that.”