Match-winner JWH makes good on promise
Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves became a father for the first time early on Tuesday morning.
He's barely slept a wink since, but it didn't stop him leading his side to victory on Saturday night with yet another barnstorming performance.
Running on pure adrenaline, he followed up his match-winning try with a small gesture of love and thanks to his partner Chelsea and new four-day-old daughter Zahli Rae. It was just like he promised.
With his side down 18-16 and with less than 10 minutes remaining, Waerea-Hargreaves received the ball after a quality Dylan Napa hit-up, charged at the set blue and gold defensive line, picked out hooker Issac De Gois, ran straight at him, sent him flying, shrugged off Nathan Peats, then, finding himself in the clear, made a beeline for fullback Reece Robinson who had little hope of stopping the 116 kilogram behemoth from claiming the lead for his side.
Waerea-Hargreaves was swamped by teammates then, as he walked back to set for Parramatta's restart, kissed the strapping on his wrist where the names of Chelsea and Zahli Rae were written.
Speaking to NRL.com after the win, a clearly exhausted Waerea-Hargreaves was both brimming with joy and barely able to complete a five-minute interview as the adrenaline left his body and fatigue suddenly set in.
"It's been awesome, it's been the best week of my life," Waerea-Hargreaves smiled.
"Having a baby Tuesday morning, probably slept one or two hours each night – it's just been the best experience of my life. I'm over the moon for my little family, and excited to have the girls home and everyone's healthy."
Waerea-Hargreaves said while his partner and child stayed at the hospital the first two nights he spent as much time there as he could, going home only to sleep.
"I'd go home and come back first thing but it's all worth it. She's a beautiful little angel," he said.
"[Friday] night was the first night I had to take a bit of time out and I had about five or six hours sleep on the couch. I'm still running on adrenaline. It's just awesome. Everyone's always said it'll change your life and it has. I'm out there to play for my family now."
Like most front rowers, Waerea-Hargreaves isn't a noted try scorer (he had just one four-pointer in 17 games this year prior to the Eels game) but it would take a brave punter to have backed against the new father celebrating his milestone in style and he revealed he had told his partner Chelsea he'd be getting across the stripe for her.
"It was good to get across the line. I told my partner I'd be scoring tonight for her and our daughter so I backed my words up that's for sure," he said.
"I kissed my wrist, I always write their names on my wrist."
Typically humble, Waerea-Hargreaves credited his teammates for laying the platform for his match-winning burst, joking he wasn't even sure what he was supposed to do after breaking the line.
"Credit to Dylan Napa, he pushed in front and wanted the first carry of the set, he got a quick play the ball for me," Waerea-Hargreaves said.
"I was lucky enough to get over the advantage line and square someone up. I surprised myself by going through!"