THE 1895 Cup Final man of the match Edwin Ipape is doing at tough at the moment with his wife and son back home in Papua New Guinea – but occasions like Saturday make the sacrifice worthwhile.

The Kumuls international hooker scored a try, and caused consternation in the Featherstone defence every time he went from dummy half after coming off the bench in the 30-16 victory.

And a glorious day at the Tottenham Hotspur’s ground was capped by the Ray French Award for the player of the match following by the horde of travelling Leythers singing his name.

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Ipape said: “It was amazing and something that does not come often and especially to do it with these blokes here.

“It was unreal to come here and hear the fans singing my name. It is a really special day they appreciate you and time here.

“It has not sunk in yet, but I will enjoy this.

“We have stuck together in training, bad games and good game and it is just an amazing feeling.”

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Prior to the game the playing group arranged for a video message to be sent to the PNG hooker, which caught him off guard.

But that helped to inspire him.

“We have had an emotional week leading up to this game – especially for myself being away from my family and sacrificing a lot to come here.

“My family are home in PNG and the day before the game they sent a video from home which was emotional,” Ipape said.

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“I came out here and I thought I was going to do it for them and do it proud. My wife, son and mum and dad, “I have done them proud. The people watching back home and my family.

“It has been a rough road and things have not been easy, but I have kept my head down and worked extremely hard at training to come here to the other side of the world and to do it on this big stage means a lot.”

There must be something about this fixture for PNG – it is 25 years since compatriot Stanley Gene scored three tries and won the man of the match in the Silk Cut Plate Final that was played before the 1997 Challenge Cup Final.

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But Ipape was not taking individual credit for his own man of the match display in a solid all round team performance – with the halves busy and managing the game well behind a big pack that laid a solid platform.

Agile, fleet-fotted and strong Ipape excelled at the feet of the big men’s quick heels.

“Credit to all the big boys in the middle doing the hard yards and giving me the quick play the balls and I am playing off what they are laying.

“I had a clear mind coming into this game and I knew what I was going to do and what my job was.”

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The win against a Rovers side who beat them early on in the campaign, gives them a huge psychological boost as they now put their focus on the big prize of Super League promotion.

They will play each other again two or three times before the year is out – fixtures that will determine who makes the top flight.

Ipape said: “There is a lot of rivalry between the sides and the build-up coming into this game.

“They are a top side but to get a win on this big stage as we will play them two or three more times is a win for us, psychologically for those games at the back end.

“We are going to get a lot from this game and grow as a group.

“This is the first step forward and winning we will back ourselves going for the big one at the end of the year.”