Huddersfield Giants star Jermaine McGillvary has been surprised by the reaction to his stunning displays in the Rugby League World Cup.
The 29-year-old homegrown Giants winger grabbed the highlights with his seven tries and hard running exploits in the Anitpodes.
After finishing the tournament with the most metres made, most tackle busts, most clean breaks and carries of the competition, McGillvary was nominated for the prestigious Golden Boot award and he was left a little stunned by the impact he had made.
“I was pretty surprised to be honest. The first time I saw it was on Twitter and I just thought someone was messing about,” he said.
“It’s an honour to be listed alongside the likes of Cameron Smith and Jason Taumalolo, they’re world class players.
“Obviously I didn’t win it, but just to be nominated with such names was really good.
“In the games I just tried to keep it simple and to do what I usually do, even in that final, I wasn’t nervous or anything like that as it’s just another game.
“I just went out there and tried to do my best, it’s nothing different to what I try to do at the Giants.
“I try to take the load off the forwards and try to run as hard as I can and that’s what I’ve done for England as well.
“I was thinking that there was a lot of other players in my position playing well that could have been called up for England.
“I’m always confident in myself, but you never know what the coach is thinking, so after getting picked I knew that I needed to repay the faith that had been shown in me and hopefully I did that.”
McGillvary enjoyed his World Cup experience, despite Enmgland’s heartbreaking 6-0 defeat by Australia in the final, and added: “One of the highlights was probably travelling around Australia and New Zealand seeing all different cultures, the animals, people and the weather.
“Then also being around such a special group of people that made a little bit of history – not the best history we could have made since we didn’t win it – but being around that group of people was something special.
“After getting that first try in the opening match we definitely felt that we could have been on for something special and I always felt that we were due to beat Australia, especially when we got that first try, we felt we were going to go on and get a result.
“It was a tough game, they played really well and got some good tries, the last one probably flattered them a bit.
“They are a quality side and it’s always good to play against team like that.
“It’s a special thing and when I look back at my career, playing against Australia in Melbourne for the opening game of the World Cup and scoring the opening try and I’ll have some very fond memories.
“I enjoyed every game but my favourite game has to be the World Cup final.
“You don’t get to put on the England top many times and it’s not like a Club shirt that you can wear two or three hundred times.
“I know that I don’t have many years to wear the England shirt but I’ve loved every time I have worn the England top.
“It was really disappointing to lose in the final as I feel the game was there for the taking.
“I thought both defences were really good, their attack was decent but ours wasn’t great.
“We had a couple of chances but just came up with a couple of errors – but I can’t fault the boys for effort.
“Everyone worked really hard, even the Aussies were dropping to the floor at the final whistle because it was such an intense game.
“I’ve never been a part of a game of that intensity in my life and it was a bit disappointing how we lost such a close game.
“It’s one of those where hopefully it will have inspired the next generation.
“With a bit of luck in four years time they can take over and go one better.”