The responsibility of kicking goals comes with dazzling highs and they're magnified to no end in big games but, as Orange CYMS junior Toby Westcott found out in Sunday's Jersey Flegg Cup grand final, there's agonising lows that come with it too.
With his Canberra side trailing South Sydney 16-14 at Westcott had the chance to send the game into extra-time when the Rabbitohs were, incredibly, penalised for a deliberate forward pass after regular time had expired.
As one of the side's co-captains - the other was Parkes' Darby Medlyn - Westcott had no second thoughts about taking the shot from 30 metres out on the right-hand side of Bankwest Stadium, but sadly for the diminutive young halfback it was waved away.
That's the kind of kick you want to take but unfortunately there's always that risk that comes with it.Canberra halfback Toby Westcott
Although understandably disappointed Westcott showed his maturity and class after the two-point defeat, the 20-year-old was quite diplomatic about what ended up as "a pretty disappointing day".
"I'm sure the kick will be in the back of my head for a while and I'll certainly be straight back out on the paddock practicing, but you know, sometimes you get them and sometimes you sometimes you don't," Westcott said.
"When you've got the responsibility as a goalkicker that's the kind of kick you want to take but unfortunately there's always that risk that comes with it.
"I spoke to Jamie Soward after the game and got a nice message from (Canberra's NRL skipper) Jarrod Croker) [on Sunday] night too, it's disappointing, but you can't beat yourself up about it too much.
"More than anything I was proud of the boys' effort, which was incredible. From where we were in the middle of the season to get to the grand final in that standard of competition is a big achievement."
The Raiders had a mixed start to the season, picking up two wins and suffering two losses from the opening six rounds, along with a draw and a round one bye.
With Westcott pulling the strings a 56-4 romp against Manly in round seven kick-started the Green Machine though, they won 10 of their last 14 games after that to sneak into the top four.
Westcott's 72nd minute field goal secured the Raiders' 19-18 win over minor premiers Cronulla in the opening week of the finals, the week after his side downed the Roosters 22-12 to book their tickets to Sunday's big dance.
"The way we came together as a side was pretty amazing. We had guys from all over the place and had injuries and spanners thrown into the works too," Westcott said.
"Honestly I've never played in a side like this one and I said that to the boys in the sheds [on Sunday], it really was what I'd call a brotherhood."
The grand final was a clash of swings and roundabouts.
South Sydney fullback and man-of-the-match Blake Taafe scored a first-half double and winger Nicholas Mougios crossed too, the Rabbitohs' treble being matched by Canberra winger Semi Valemei's first-half hat-trick.
The eventual champions led 16-14 at the break and with both sides defending magnificently after the restart, neither could add to their tallies.
Westcott joined Canberra from Penrith last year 2019 was his last season in the under-20 competition to an end, while he'd love to remain at the Raiders he said he'll be taking that as it comes after a big year.
"It was a pretty big year and I loved captaining the side with Darby, I'd love to be here next year too because Canberra's a great club to be a part of," he said.
"It's a pretty cut-throat game though so I'll wait and see what happens, for the next couple of weeks I'm just going to chill out away from footy and then we'll go from there."
He won't be entirely away from footy though, not when the Raiders' top flight side still have a grand final to play this weekend, their first since 1994.
With fellow CYMS - and Bloomfield - junior Jack Wighton set to line up against the Roosters at ANZ Stadium next Sunday, Westcott said he "wouldn't miss that for the world".
"I'll be there, definitely," he said.
"The vibe around the club is something really special at the moment and it'd be incredible to see the first grade guys get the job done."
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