Retiring Cessnock prop Brendan Hlad left nothing in the tank and was looking forward to rejoining his family after Sunday's grand final loss to Western Suburbs.
The Goannas veteran was the best in a beaten team, doing many of the hard yards in the middle of the field and regularly breaking the advantage line. Hlad proved the most difficult player to contain for Wests, who beat Cessnock 36-0.
"I was just doing my job," the 32-year-old said from the dressing sheds at McDonald Jones Stadium.
"That's the way it goes. There's got to be a winner and a loser. Wests are a quality side and they were the best all year. They deserved the premiership."
An "emotional" Hlad, who played three English Super League games with the Castleford Tigers, will bow out minus a Newcastle RL title having lost five deciders with Cessnock since 2009.
"In a way I'm relieved it's over and to be honest I just want to be with my wife and kids right now," he said. "I just did my best."
Cessnock teammate Dan Metcalf said he was "50-50" about playing again next year after suffering an Achilles tendon injury.