Clutch play caps off Horo's Manly career
Departing Sea Eagles back-rower Justin Horo has proven to be the unlikely hero in Manly's 14-12 win over the Sharks after coming up with a clutch 60-metre intercept to set up winger Tom Trbojevic's game-winning try, in a memorable end to his immediate NRL career.
To paint a picture the Catalans-bound forward was the toast of the Sea Eagles' sheds, with teammate Jorge Taufua making sure the room knew Horo's intercept "was clutch, cuzzy".
On top of that, in a timely enough reference to Horo's former Eels teammate Jarryd Hayne's progression into the NFL ranks, coach Geoff Toovey shut down the 28-year-old's chances of doing the same mid-interview after comparing him to a running back.
"Are you asking about his NFL career?" Toovey chimed in.
"That's from left field don't you think? He's not going to make it."
Nonetheless Horo was just happy to achieve something he has never done before – that being a match winner – which involved him outpacing Sharks centres Ricky Leutele and Gerard Beale long enough for Trbojevic to play catch up and finish the length-of-the-field sequence off.
"I haven't been close [to being the match-winner] before ever in my life," Horo told NRL.com.
"I just took a stab and I felt like there was nothing to lose really. I could kind of see Paul Gallen outside of me when I got the ball and I knew I had probably saved a try. I just had a crack and lucky for me it came off and Tom was outside of me."
"But really the result in the end in general makes me happy. It was a good win and it's been a weird year.
"We had a slow start to the season, we built some momentum and then we fell short [of the finals] a couple of weeks ago so to get the result and go out with a winning feeling definitely feels good."
Horo went on to express his sadness of leaving Manly – who threw him a lifeline three years ago when it was made apparent he was unwanted by Parramatta.
"I'm going to miss the club, I've enjoyed my time here but I have new chapter in my life now to write and I'm going to take it on," Horo said.
"The club means a lot to me. I was unwanted by the Eels and it was actually a week before the pre-season when I signed a Manly contract.
"It was great to get into a couple of finals series and play a grand final. Although we didn't win it I'm going to look back on my time at Manly with fond memories."
While he hasn't completely shut the door on returning to the NRL down the line, Horo was excited to get over to France and continue his career in the English Super League.
"I've never been to Europe before so I'm looking forward to getting over to France and doing a bit of travelling. The club has recruited well so I'm looking forward to getting there and starting that part of my life," Horo said.
"I'm just going to try and enjoy the couple of years over there, and play some good footy and let the rest take care of itself.
"If I still feel like I have some good footy left in me I'll happily come back [to the NRL] but if I'm enjoying my lifestyle over there as well I might try to stay on for a couple of years as well so it's just a matter of seeing what happens."