When the full-time siren rang out at Allianz Stadium on Saturday and Dylan Napa realised he hadn't cost the Sydney Roosters a grand final berth, the Tri-Colours enforcer was a whirlwind of emotions.
For the past month Napa has been forced to sit on the sidelines for an ugly shot on Andrew McCullough in which he led with his head.
He was suspended for three weeks for the incident which led to calls for him to change his tackling technique, having also connected with Korbin Sims in similar fashion earlier in the year.
Asked about the tackle, and the feeling of not being able to contribute during the Roosters' finals games to date, Napa said: "I didn't feel guilty because I feel like I've given my all to this team every time I've played.
"It's a funny feeling but I'm just really excited that I've been given the opportunity to play."
Without the Queensland prop in their engine room, the Roosters beat Cronulla and South Sydney to win through to Sunday's grand final against Melbourne.
The match will be Napa's first in a little over five weeks.
On game days, he was subjected to a brutal assault bike circuit in the gym by the Roosters training staff, leading him to insist he'll be primed to go against the Storm.
"When you spend a few weeks on the sideline with suspension you usually get flogged in the gym," Napa said.
Being forced to watch on as his side battled to keep their premiership dream alive was a difficult experience for the 26-year-old.
He said he never wavered in his belief that his teammates could get the job done without him.
"I had so much faith in our team to get here," Napa said.
"It's really rewarding to be here at the end of the year.
"I was just really proud of our team and what we've achieved getting into the grand final.
"Make no mistakes, we're not going out there (to be runners up), we want to win it.
"It's been our goal. We're going to finish off the year."
Referee Gerard Sutton places Dylan Napa of the Roosters on report as Jake Friend of the Roosters watches on during the round 24 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Brisbane Broncos at Allianz Stadium.
Sydney Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk admits he is a "long shot" to play in Sunday's NRL grand final against Melbourne due to a shoulder injury.
After scans confirmed the 34-year-old had suffered "severe" damage to his rotator cuff in the Roosters' preliminary final win over South Sydney, Cronk today said he would do everything he could to be fit enough to face his former teammates.
"I can move it. The best thing to do is just immobilise it ... I don't know what my realistic chances are but I'm a long shot," said Cronk, who had his arm in a sling at the Roosters media day.
Cooper Cronk of the Roosters holds his shoulder during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.
Penrith have re-signed halfback Nathan Cleary on a long-term deal that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2024 NRL season.
The move ensures the Panthers wrap up their star playmaker before the Wests Tigers and any other rivals can approach him at the start of November.
"There was always going to be speculation but in the end it was an easy decision for me to make ... I want to become a leader here at the Panthers and I'm determined to help deliver a premiership to Penrith," Cleary said.
He said his decision to sign a five-year contract extension had nothing to do with his father Ivan, who is contracted as Wests Tigers coach until the end of 2020 and has expressed a desire to work with his son.
Penrith axed coach Anthony Griffin in the second half of the season and he was replaced on an interim basis by his assistant Cameron Ciraldo, who steered the Panthers into the finals.
"I was happy to make the decision by myself, what happens in the future with dad is out of my control," Cleary said.
"I don't think I ever thought I was going to leave, even with what was going on.
"I always thought I would stay and it would all work itself out eventually and it did.
"This is a real happy place to be in at the moment."
Panthers half Nathan Cleary in action against the Warriors.