Sarah Togatuki has claimed the Karyn Murphy Medal after a player of the match performance, capping a dramatic week for the Roosters forward after escaping a ban from the judiciary.
Togatuki was enormous against the Dragons to set the tone in the middle and guide her side to victory with 161 running metres and a line break.
Togatuki spoke to NRL.com on Friday about her experience this week after almost missing the grand final due to a careless high tackle charge.
The 24-year-old is the first Roosters player to win the prestigious medal.
"It's an unbelievable feeling, especially after the week I have had. I am filled with emotion and honoured to receive this award," Togatuki said.
"I want to pay my respects to those who played before us and paved the way for the girls to come out and play in such a big event.
"I didn't get the time to soak in the win last week so I will definitely be soaking in this win."
Togatuki, who is one of four foundation players left at the club, has relished the opportunity to switch to the middle of the field this season.
NRLW Match Highlights: Dragons v Roosters
She swung the momentum for the side at crucial stages in Sunday's grand final with her hard running and bone-crunching defence, particularly in the second half.
"She’s the heart and soul of the club. She’s an unbelievable person, really emotional when she got cleared to play," Roosters coach John Strange said.
"She’s worked so hard to play in a grand final and get the win. It was a really good lift for the girls when she was cleared to play."
Roosters captain Corban Baxter described Togatuki as the ultimate team player after the pair started out together at the club in 2018.
"She’s an extremely passionate person and pours her whole heart in everything she does," Baxter said.
"I think that shows on the field. She’s hard to handle. We’ve got a lot of girls who are like that but she definitely leads the way.
"That what makes today more special. We knew we had a really good opportunity and those girls who have been there from the start I cherish the relationships I’ve made, it’s a really special feeling.
"We’ve been building not only this season but over the last few years, that perseverance we have been in a few grand finals and haven’t come up with the win."