IT was deep in golden-point extra time during what was already a memorable NRL debut that Tex Hoy did something that made all of Newcastle leap off their couch.
Or perhaps, like Tex's dad, Newcastle surfing legend Matt, and his family and friends watching in Cooks Hill you just started screaming. In a crazy game against the Panthers in front of an empty stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tex backed himself to be the hero. The 20-year-old, who because of the NRL shutdown had waited 69 days to replace suspended Kalyn Ponga at fullback for the Knights, faked a field-goal, jinked off his right foot and took off across field.
READ MORE: Rookie backrower to debut for Knights
And then he threw the perfect cut-out pass to Bradman Best that should have won the game and put the final touch on a remarkable debut for the Newcastle junior.
"We were screaming "it's on, it's on"," Matt said of his son's near-game winning play in the 84th minute.
Unfortunately, Best passed instead of going himself and the ball ended up over the sideline. The Knights would end up drawing 14-all with the Panthers, a remarkable comeback after they trailed 14-0 after 25 minutes and lost playmakers Mitchell Pearce and Connor Watson to injury early.
"Oh my god," Matt said in the immediate aftermath of the game. "What a game to debut in. "I'm still shaking, it's crazy. "I'm stoked he backed himself and so proud of him. I've got the worst butterflies I've had all day. I'm shaking, it's heavy."
With Pearce and Watson both ruled out with injury early, Tex starred.
He was safe as houses under the high-ball, huge in defence at the back and pulled off a number of clear try-savers, including a remarkable effort to hold-up Dean Whare when he looked certain to score and another on a runaway Josh Mansour in extra time.
And as the Panthers and Knights five-eighth Kurt Mann continued to miss field-goals, Tex had a shot that looked good off the boot before it was charged down.
"I couldn't be more proud," Matt said. "He had a blinder. "He didn't do anything wrong, was really solid and could have won the game for them."
I'm stoked he backed himself and so proud of him. I've got the worst butterflies I've had all day. I'm shaking, it's heavy.Tex Hoy's dad, Newcastle surfing legend Matt Hoy, said after watching the game on Sunday.