Josh Starling breaks his try duck at last
After going 51 first-grade games without scoring a try, Manly's Josh Starling could have been excused for thinking his day in the limelight would never come.
But five years since making his NRL debut, the Sea Eagles front-rower finally broke his duck with a meat pie against the Warriors on Saturday night.
While it wasn't the 100-metre solo effort forwards dream about, Starling said he was relieved to end what had been one of the longest try-scoring droughts to start a rugby league career.
"It's been a while. I debuted in 2012 so I've been waiting a long time to get my first one, but glad it finally happened," a relieved Josh Starling said.
"I think [my last try] was in the last round when I still playing for the Bears against Manly at 'Brookie'. That was the last time I scored a 13-on-13 try."
Having just come onto the field before grabbing the try, Starling revealed the 24th-minute play wasn't even meant for him.
Having received a pass from Matt Parcell out of dummy-half, the forward stepped inside Warrior Charlie Gubb before spinning past Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to carry Jacob Lillyman over for the now famous four-pointer.
"I wasn't even supposed to get the ball," Starling said.
"I just sort of went into shock. I don't think they knew I was getting it either because a few people sort of stood off me. I just sort of put my head down and spun around and finally got there."
The 25-year-old admitted his inability to cross the stripe had played on his mind in recent times, but told reporters there was one added bonus of getting over the line.
"I don't have to get nude again at the end of the year," he quipped.
"I've been so close so many times. I had one taken away last year. I just sort of got over it after a while and thought, 'I've got to wait my time' and it finally happened."
Currently level with Sea Eagles legend Brett Stewart with one try in 2016, Starling said he was trying to keep a lid of things, even if his teammates try to egg him on.
"They're just happy for me and I'm pretty stoked as well. I'm trying to keep it a bit humble, but I'm very excited," Starling said.
As a fellow member of the Sea Eagles' front-row fraternity, teammate Darcy Lussick admitted he was envious, especially considering his own try-scoring drought.
The 26-year old forward hasn't scored a try since Round 13, 2012 and is under pressure to emulate what took place at Mt Smart Stadium on the weekend.
"I think he waited 50-something games and it's been 50-something games since I scored last – actually it's probably been a bit more," Lussick said.
"I am a bit jealous, but I'm happy for him."
Having scored 53 tries for the Sea Eagles, winger Jorge Taufua knows a thing or two about crossing the stripe but admitted seeing Starling barge over was something extra special.
"Usually when someone scores on that side of the field, I take my time to get over there and congratulate them," Taufua said.
"But as soon as I saw it was him, I made sure I sprinted over because he always complains about how he never scores.
"He's got about 80 training tries and now he's finally got one that counts."