Players are often told to rest up and keep distractions to a minimum in preparation for an NRL grand final, but Sydney Roosters centre Joseph Manu's house was packed with family who travelled from New Zealand ahead of the big day.
Manu gave away close to 40 tickets to family members who didn't want to miss the 22-year-old's first grand final appearance. He went on to play a starring role in the Roosters' 21-6 win over the Storm at ANZ Stadium.
Manu said grand final success was made even more special knowing he had family cheering him on from the sidelines.
"They all came from Tokoroa, New Zealand - three-hour drive to Auckland and a three-hour plane ride to here," Manu said.
"I don't know how most of them got here but it was awesome to have them here.
"My house was packed all week. All of them in my lounge-room with the mattresses out - felt like I was back at home."
Manu said the hard yards the side put in during the season were handsomely rewarded on Sunday night.
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The powerful centre - who on Monday was named in the New Zealand squad to face Australia and Tonga later this month - said the ring he was given won't be leaving his sight anytime soon.
"Since pre-season, it's been a long ride but all of it was worth it," Manu said.
"It's been an awesome year, we worked hard and to win the grand final mean a lot.
"I'll give my jersey to my mum and dad, let them look after it back home and I don't know what I'll do with this ring yet but I'm going to keep it on for a long time."
Manu said the excitement of grand final week almost got the better of him on the night before the decider.
"I woke really early, I didn't have the best sleep because I was too excited and too nervous," Manu said.
"I kept looking outside my hotel window and seeing from midday it was already packed.
"I soaked it all up and then once I ran out it was probably the best feeling looking around - I looked to the side and saw my family then looked up into the big stands and all the Roosters fans were there."