Wigan full-back Matty Bowen put on a brave face after experiencing a hat-trick of Grand Final defeats and then revealed he became a father for the third time just hours before running out at Old Trafford.
Daughter Tatum was induced by medical staff at a Wigan hospital to ensure the birth occurred before the Super League title decider against Leeds, who were 22-20 winners.
Obviously I've had a long two days, the missus had the baby at 11.30 last night and I was in bed by 12 so I had a good rest.
While Leeds' triumph enabled Jamie Peacock, Kevin Sinfield and Kylie Leuluai to bow out of the game on a high, the 33-year-old Bowen was left to reflect on another title that got away.A runner-up with North Queensland Cowboys in 2005, Bowen was on the losing side for Wigan in 2014 and, after hanging up his boots, will end his two-year stint in Super League without a medal.
It wasn't to be but I wouldn't change anything, I've loved every minute of my time at Wigan.
Wigan coach Shaun Wane had spoken in the build-up of the desire to give the popular Australian a fitting send-off and he was distraught for the player.
He's one of the best players I've ever dealt with, I know a lot of people say it but he's an even better bloke off the field. He's one outstanding individual, one of the best.
Wigan had opened the scoring through departing winger Joe Burgess and, after trailing 16-6 at half-time, threatened to repeat their famous comeback against Warrington in 2013 when quick-fire tries from Bowen and Dom Manfredi edged them in front after 48 minutes.
Leading 18-16, Wigan captain Sean O'Loughlin surprisingly decided to go for the posts when his side were awarded a penalty on the hour and, although Bowen kicked his fourth goal, it left the door open for Leeds to win it with a converted try.