Willie Manu says Saints’ Grand Final victory was a fairytale ending to his Super League career.
The 34-year-old returns to his native Australia with a Super League winner’s medal to his name.
He said: “There’s no better way to end my Saints career. That’s why I came here, because Saints are always competing for titles. I’m getting on a bit now too so it means even more!
“It was good for the supporters that they lost a man and it obviously made us favourites to win. I know it’s part of the game but it’s sad in a way because it would have been a great game with 13 against 13.
“We lost our only half-back too, which disrupted us quite a bit – and it showed in the first half. We couldn’t get any sort of rhythm.
“Thankfully we settled down a bit in the second half and played some better rugby. We could feel the momentum turning in the second half.”
Manu described the Grand Final victory as “an experience I will never forget”.
He added: “Once we all knew who was leaving at the end of the year we said ‘let’s finish on a high’ because a few of us might not be involved in a group like this again. That’s what kept us going throughout the year. I’m heading off to spend some time with my parents back in Australia now. I’ve got an agent looking after me so hopefully he will find me something.
“I’ve loved my time here though and I’m glad I decided to come out here and experience a different culture and a different league. There have been some tough times but to win this Grand Final is the cherry on the cake.”