Gidley: "A moment I'll never forget"
Newcastle mastercoach Wayne Bennett summed it up with a quick-witted "never in doubt," but the smile could have easily been wiped from his face if his captain Kurt Gidley didn't kick a conversion from the sideline after the siren to secure a remarkable 32-30 victory over the Melbourne Storm on Saturday afternoon.
With the Knights down 30-20 with four minutes remaining on the clock, an outstanding one-on-one strip from Travis Waddell put Newcastle right back in the game with 1:45 to play. It went down to the final five seconds as a frantic last throw of dice saw a play from the left side of field finish up in the opposite corner in Akuila Uate's hands to equal the game at 30-all.
The game had come down to Gidley kicking the match-winner from the edge of the paddock in what he described as moment right up there in his career highlight reel. While his teammates tackled him to the ground in scenes of pure jubilation, Gidley couldn't help but feel disappointed that he was put in the predicament to begin with.
"I was disappointed I was in that position because I missed a few earlier in that game," Gidley admitted to reporters after the game.
"Yet as a goal kicker it is a moment you always dream of: to kick a winning one after the siren and after doing so much practice over the years, it is one I'll never forget."
The game wouldn't have been over if he had missed the conversion with golden point on offer, and Gidley said he wasn't nervous lining up the kick, adding it was all about going through the same process he would do with any other shot at goal.
"As a goal kicker you want to go through the same process every kick you have and I think with that last kick I hit it well but it was about doing the same process, it doesn't matter where you kick on the field, you have to worry about the same things going through your head and make sure your technique is good," Gidley said.
"It was a pressure kick but it was a great moment and the embracing at the end was the best part about it, especially after a tough year and we're at home playing a good team. It was a pretty emotional moment in the end."
With the game seemingly over at several different points of the game as Melbourne kicked clear, Gidley said the grit and determination of his Newcastle team managed to get them over the line in the end. It was a massive turnaround considering the 40-point flogging from the Rabbitohs last round.
"We knew we had to be on. We were coming up against one of the best attacking teams in the competition. There were plenty of tries scored there but we never gave up," Gidley said.
"Our desire and our belief in the last two minutes was still there. Our home fans have been through the highs and lows with us this season and they have stuck with us so I think everyone walks away happy tonight proud of their team."
Gidley and his teammates will be happy men leading into their game against the Warriors next Sunday afternoon, and coach Bennett summed it up with simply: "it is enjoyable as it gets."