Daniel Abraham has finished his stellar rugby league career on the perfect note.
Surrounded by family and friends at his favourite ground the retiring Macquarie lock was named man-of-the-match after an “outstanding” individual performance helped his junior club clinch a long-awaited Newcastle Rugby League premiership.
If his strong carries and relentless tackling weren’t enough, the 36-year-old’s last touch even hit the mark with a conversion attempt sailing through the uprights at the southern end of McDonald Jones Stadium.
It capped off a 24-6 grand final victory over Western Suburbs on Saturday and after full-time he was joined out in the middle by sons Lane, 11, and Reade, 5, before receiving the JJ “Mo” Wilson Medal.
“It’s amazing,” an emotional Abraham said.
“It’s been building all week and I kept it together. But to come back to my local club, play [a grand final] at my favourite ground and finish off like that with them bunch of boys – it’s what fairy tales are made of.”
Abraham has spent two seasons with Macquarie following 100 first grade games at the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs, including a loss in the 2013 showdown.
Prior to that the NSW Country representative played 106 NRL games, including the Newcastle Knights’ 2001 premiership.
“I had my boys here and they presented me with my jersey before kick-off so there was a lot of emotion in the sheds before the game,” he said.
“I couldn’t ask for anything better and I couldn’t be more grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had in footy.
“To finish that way is just magic.”
Abraham’s teammates and Macquarie playmakers Andy Sumner and Scott Briggs would have also been in contention for best and fairest honours.
Halfback Sumner scored one try, set up another and seemed to be involved in almost everything while the kicking game of No.6 Briggs came into its own, especially in the second half.
Western Suburbs winger Callan Richardson was the best in a beaten side while Rosellas fullback Brad Tighe also looked dangerous on most kick returns.