AS he emerged from the celebrations in the Leeds Rhinos dressing room on Saturday night, five-try Tom Briscoe had a signed match ball under one arm, a winners medal around his neck and the Lance Todd Trophy already safely tucked away.
Yet the England winger, who, along with his stellar team-mates was involved in all sorts of records following the stunning 50-0 Challenge Cup rout of Hull KR at Wembley, somehow decreed he had had “quite a quiet game.”
You could understand what he meant in a way perhaps; Briscoe had very little to do aside from applying those quality finishes but, still, five tries? Yes, five.
Asked how he felt, the former Hull FC star admitted: “Incredible. I have got no words to describe how that feels but... elated, humbled... to be put in the history books like that is incredible.
“And it is something I’d never ever dreamed of – scoring five tries at Wembley
“Last year I was over the moon with one so to score five is incredible.”
It was the first time any player had done so in the prestigious competition’s 118-year history.
Of course, he had already equalled the previous record, set by another Leeds winger – Leroy Rivett – who memorably scored four tries in the 1999 Challenge Cup final defeat of London Broncos.
Yet only five players had even scored a hat-trick before, and the Featherstone-born player conceded: “That’s it. I got three and was chuffed.
“I couldn’t believe I managed to achieve that. But they just kept coming.
“I didn’t know what the record was until after the game when someone came up and told me I’d actually broken it.
“It was a great moment to have, that realisation out on the field that I’d scored a hat-trick at Wembley. But I did have quite a quiet game. I wasn’t too involved apart from getting passes from Kallum to score the tries.”
Four of Briscoe’s tries came in the final 33 minutes of the match after he had weaved in off his wing with a strong finish for his opener in the first half.
Next he raced 90m having taken Albert Kelly’s high kick before his hat-trick came in the 66th minute following a smart assist from Watkins.
He levelled with Rivett late on and in the final minute broke the record with another fine effort.
Briscoe broke a foot in his first Challenge Cup final with Hull FC, a defeat to St Helens in 2008, and lost again with them five years later before lifting the trophy with Leeds against Castleford 12 months ago.
“The first final I played in I got injured and a similar story to Hull KR today, I got nilled in 2013, so I know how they’re feeling at the minute,” he added.
“But that low builds for an incredible feeling when you’re walking up those stairs.”
Briscoe, 25, admitted he was able to savour some of his achievements while still out on the pitch given Leeds’s position of strength.
“I think it was a nice situation to be in with so long to go in the game after the hat-trick,” he added. “I can’t say we took foot off the gas as we were ruthless in the tries we scored.
“But to be able to take a step back and soak it all in was great.
“That’s one thing I’ve learned from playing here so many times; you really have to take every moment in as it doesn’t happen that often.
“And to win two years on the bounce is pretty special but to win the Lance Todd Trophy as well, that takes it to another level.”
That is clearly a notable personal feat taking man-of-the-match in such a significant game.
The player, who has missed much of this season through injury but still has 14 tries from just 11 appearances, was asked if he keeps mementos .
“I keep things when it’s winners – not as much the losers ones!” he added.
“Obviously I’ve got a lot of memories from here (Wembley).
“I’ve kept all the shirts from the finals I’ve played in – it’s a great achievement just to play here – so I have got those.
“But last year’s shirt is framed and this year’s will definitely be getting framed along with this ball under my arm.”
Other players to score hat-tricks in the Challenge Cup final are Broughton Rangers’ Bob Wilson against Salford (1902), Huddersfield’s Stan Moorhouse versus Warrington (1913), and Oldham’s Tom Holliday against Swinton in 1927.
Post-war there had only been Bradford Bulls’ Robbie Paul against St Helens (1996), Rivett and Chris Hicks, the Australian winger who did so for Warrington against Leeds five years ago.
With 20, Briscoe also drew level with Wakefield’s Neil Fox in 1960 and Leeds’s Iestyn Harris, during that ‘99 win over London, in the record for most points scored in a final.
Just hours before kick-off a bronzed statue was unveiled at Wembley depicting five greats who had played special roles there in the Challenge Cup over the years – Billy Boston, Eric Ashton, Alex Murphy, Gus Risman and Martin Offiah.
Briscoe, undoubtedly, has now written his own piece of Challenge Cup folklore.