England claim dramatic win
James Graham felt like Ben Hunt while Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was wishing New Zealand had Johnathan Thurston.
Those were the gut-level reactions after England survived a late New Zealand blitz to win their first series in eight years by taking out the Third Test 20-14 at Wigan's DW Stadium.
Steve McNamara's side looked safe when man of the series and home town hero Sean O'Loughlin crossed for a powerful converted 72nd minute try to make it 20-6.
But like Ben Hunt during extra time in the NRL grand final, Canterbury's Graham fumbled the restart.
"Why did I drop the ball?" Graham told NRL.com.
"That kick-off, I've fluffed my lines a bit there and I was pretty determined to try and help the boys as much as I could there.
"But that's what Test matches are all about. That's what these games are all about. We gave ourselves an opportunity to win and we hung in there."
Within minutes of the error, winger Jason Nightingale had put fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck over for a try witha glorious flick pass.
Two minutes later, Kodi Nikorima kicked - after the ball was kept alive in dazzling fashion - and his Brisbane team-mate Jordan Kahu raced after it to score. Even though Issac Luke missed both conversions, a draw was on the cards.
With 10 seconds to go, 2015 Golden Boot nominee Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had the ball in his hands and the game on the line.
"So many things were going through my head," he said. "I tried to throw the long ball, hopefully, to see what the boys were doing.
"But the defence was up. I was stuck just trying to maybe put [Jason] Nightingale back under to head back to the middle.
"But it didn't work this time. We didn't have the magic Thurston in our team."
For a Kiwi side without Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson, Jason Taumalolo, Simon Mannering, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Manu Vatevei, it was a defiant end to a tightly contested series.
In a game preceded by an impeccably observed minute's silence for the Paris victims and played amid rain and wind, New Zealand turned out their best attack of the series.
But when they dominated possession just after halftime and England led by just two, the Kiwis could not score.
Instead, Canberra-bound Elliott Whitehead got tries in the 20th and 68th minutes to be an unlikely star.
"When Elliott first came into our system, he might have been disappointed he didn't get more game time," said coach Steve McNamara.
"But he's come on very well. I'm really interested to see how he goes in the NRL. Canberra are getting a good player."
McNamara is now off contract with England – he recently re-signed with the Roosters – and again refused to comment on his future.
But halfback Matty Smith, who came into the side for Wigan club-mate George Williams, said: "I don't see a reason why we need to change the coach now when we had a good World Cup – just fell short, could have gone either way.
"The Four Nations was the same. We're building nicely. He's kept that team together. Everyone wants to play for him.
"We've won something this year. Why change it?"
Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney said his side put too much pressure on itself with errors.
Asked if former Golden Boot winner Benji Marshall, who was overlooked for selection, would have made a difference, he said: "I'm not going to answer that question because he's not in the team that I picked.
"I thought we performed pretty well. Did we need help? I can't tell you."
ENGLAND 20 (Elliott Whitehead 2, Sean O'Loughlin tries; Gareth Widdop 3 goals) defeated NEW ZEALAND 14 (Jason Nightingale, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Jordan Kahu tries; Issac Luke goal) at DW Stadium. Referee: Ben Thaler (England).
This article originally featured on NRL.COM