Grand Final forced Feldt to grow up
Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt will forever be remembered as the tattooed blur torching down the right touchline for a try in the dying seconds of the 2015 Grand Final.
That and the floating, whirling dervish of a kick-off - which was knocked on by Ben Hunt - are moments that can make a career.
Naturally, plenty was written about the most thrilling rugby league passage this side of the century, but there is one chapter that so far has not been penned in the Feldt fairy tale.
He became a man.
Success in football has always come easy for Feldt. He represented Queensland in Under-16s and Under-18s before becoming an NYC star; making the grand final in 2011 and being named in both the NYC Team of the Year and Junior Kangaroos sides. As a 21-year-old he was the leading scorer in the Intrust Super Cup before making his first grade debut against South Sydney in Round 21, 2013.
With Feldt's success came complacency. He would cut corners not only on off-days but when there was serious work to be done in the gym and on the training track, best exemplified by multiple early-season mistakes that saw a quick demotion just three games into last season.
"[The grand final] made me grow as a player, to be honest," he told NRL.com.
"Before that I really took my football career for granted and now looking back at everything, I really cherish the stuff I have accomplished so far in a short career.
"I've definitely worked a lot harder since that time. I've really put a lot more effort into all the little things, especially around the game and outside the game just to try and give myself a step forward in my career.
"This year I've really started to take it in and look up to a lot of the older boys. I've seen them do it and I thought, 'well if I want to prolong my career I need to do this stuff.'
"I really want to make this job – so they say, but it's really a childhood dream – I really want to keep it going."
The questions of Feldt was never over aptitude, only attitude.
He is no stranger to heart-to-heart chats with coach Paul Green, and over the better part of two seasons every time the Cowboys mentor was asked about Feldt he became terse and deliberately vague.
Feldt knew that it was not just Green looking at him with scepticism, it was the entire squad – the men he went into battle with every week.
"[I was cheating] on diet and not really getting onto things around the gym and stuff in the rehab room before we start training, to prevent injuries," he said.
"My teammates noticed, everyone notices, and it's not something you want to have in the team.
"You want everyone to be accountable for each other, and I think [the grand final] brought me into a better player and a better person, really."
Feldt's reinstatement back into top grade in Round 24 against the Warriors was a move out of necessity on the eve of finals, as the right side was being exposed most weeks on both sides of the ball.
A question mark still hung over his defensive play but a hat-trick in the 50-16 demolition in Auckland cemented his spot for the successful post-season run – a spot he has since not let go.
The final moments of last year's grand final success were simply a case of 'right place at the right time' for Feldt, but it was also meant to be.
"The turning point in my career was really an 'outside looking in' thing. You're looking at it and you're like, 'if you're going to have a good illustrious career you're going to have to put in."