Canberra star Jack Wighton has become the first player in six years to claim the Clive Churchill Medal from the losing team in the NRL grand final.
Wighton scored the Raiders' only try and broke five tackles in their 14-8 defeat to the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
"Congratulations to the Sydney Roosters. Hopefully we see you again in another dance like this," Wighton said after the game.
Not since Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans was awarded the gong in 2013 has the medallist come from the runners-up.
He is the fourth player to win the medal from a losing team, joining Raiders lock Bradley Clyde (1991), St George forward Brad Mackay (1993) and Cherry-Evans.
Wighton was a constant threat in attack against the Roosters, stepping two defenders on his way for his first-half try.
The Raiders five-eighth also came up with a number of jarring hits, including one on Roosters second-rower Angus Crichton in the first half.
He also produced the kick Roosters fullback James Tedesco fumbled that led to referee Ben Cummins wrongly signalling six again before changing his mind.
Wighton was left shattered following the result.
"Very numb at the moment, mate," he told the Nine Network.
"First time being in this position but I really felt we had the team to do it this year, you know. We actually did. We got beaten by a good team.
"Just one of them games, mate. It is a hard one to soak in first time being here.
"But it is just hard to swallow.
"So close but so far. That was the competition all year, you know. Hats off to our boys, great year. Hats off to the Roosters but absolutely gut wrenching.
"It's a feeling I can't explain, mate."
It caps off a strong year for the 26-year-old, who successfully made the transition into the halves this year and also made his NSW State of Origin debut.
Australian Associated Press