Cowboys' support 'amazing': Winterstein
It was the Monday night miracle that grabbed all of the headlines, but for the Cowboys it was about more than just football.
Their 18-17 extra-time win over the Storm signified the moment teammates became brothers.
In a feat of sheer willpower, Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein returned to the field just two weeks after his younger brother Francis took his own life, revealing that he "spoke" to Francis during the game.
It was a successful return for the 26-year-old, who said the presence of his sibling helped him pull through as the moment consumed him.
"For sure, I spoke to him a lot during the game, which really helped me through the tough times. I was fatigued there a bit so I asked for his help," Winterstein said following his two-try outing.
"I definitely wasn't out there by myself.
"I think emotions got the best of me, but after that was done and dusted, my focus was fully on the game. It is hard to describe those feelings."
Winterstein was eased back into training at his own pace after returning to the club early last week and said the support he received from teammates and staff is something he won't forget.
"It has been amazing, you really see everyone's true colours at times like this," he said.
"The love and support the boys have showed me is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.
"They are like brothers to me. They were there for me at the hard times and I just can't wait to repay their faith on the field."
Co-captain Johnathan Thurston led the plaudits for Winterstein after the game, noting his professionalism to bounce back in the face of true adversity.
"It's been obviously a very tough couple of week for him. Very proud of him and his family will be very proud of the way he's carried himself over the past couple of weeks and he was outstanding for us," he said after the game on Monday night.
Winterstein looks to keep the ball rolling ahead of Monday night's clash with Penrith at Pepper Stadium, hoping for a different result after the Cowboys were stung by a late Matt Moylan field goal to go down 23-22 last season.
The 79th-minute field goal gave the Cowboys their only loss in a nine-game stretch from mid-July through September, and Winterstein says it goes to show the importance of playing the full 80 minutes.
"That was a tough game to swallow. I remember we played pretty good throughout the game and then when it came to that moment of the game we just switched off," he said.
"Hopefully we can stay focused for the full 80 this time."