North Queensland’s unlikely grand final hero, Kyle Feldt, knew before anyone else that Brisbane halfback Ben Hunt was going to drop his golden point kickoff.
Minutes after the Cowboys winger had levelled the match with an extraordinary try on the full-time siren, Hunt grassed Feldt’s spiral restart to the extra period, gifting skipper Johnathan Thurston the match-winning field goal four tackles later.
The 23-year-old revealed he had spent hours working on perfecting what has now become both his trademark kickoff, and a significant turning point in the club’s historic first premiership.
“I do about 30 kickoffs during the week, just practising the kickoff to get that nice spiral I got in the end there,” he said.
“As soon as I hit that one I had a feeling it would be hard to catch. With the wind blowing in my face, it just held up a bit more for him.”
It was a fairytale finish for the Townsville junior, who had struggled to make any genuine impact in the match until the final minute of the match.
He then fumbled a standard Hunt kick that gave Brisbane a precious repeat set on the Cowboys line late in the second half.
Another Brisbane try would’ve sealed the seventh premiership for the club.
“I felt dirty I had let my team down,” Feldt said.
“(But) a lot of the boys just came over and said ‘Look, we’re going to make up for it for you’.
“I just thought to myself ‘All right then, I’m going to give it my all’.
“That was about eight minutes to go, and then we ended up scoring a try in the corner.
“The rest is history.”
The dramatic win will also erase Feldt’s under-20s grand final heartache of 2011, when he missed a relatively easy game-winning conversion after the buzzer and then watched the Warriors slot a premiership-deciding field goal in golden point.
But despite the eerily similar circumstances of Sunday’s decider, Feldt said he couldn’t even recall the haunting memories of that day.
“I got a bloody NRL ring on my finger now,” he said.
“I don’t even remember what happened that day. This feeling here is the best feeling in my life and I’ll remember it forever.”