Steelform Wanganui's Bryn Hudson had to trot out the old Oscars quote about the thrill of nomination after he missed out on the Mitre 10 Heartland Player of the Year at the 2017 ASB Rugby Awards on Thursday night.
Hudson dusted off the tuxedo for the trip to Auckland's Sky City for the glittering night where All Blacks, Black Ferns, Super Rugby stars and long service community volunteers alike get to rub shoulders.
The No8 was nominated alongside Mid Canterbury's 1.94m tall lock Eric Duff and Horowhenua-Kapiti's mainstay prop Scott Cameron, who played key roles in Lochore Cup success and making the Meads Cup final respectively.
All three were also selected in the New Zealand Heartland XV that squeezed past New Zealand Marist 41-39 in Timaru for the McCrae Cup, with Cameron scoring two tries.
In the end, the hard-working Cameron got the nod over Hudson and Duff.
"I was just there to make up the numbers, it was an honour just to be nominated and congrats to Scotty, he deserved it," said Hudson when he touched down at Whanganui Airport and jumped in the ute for the drive home yesterday.
He agreed it was a nice acknowledgment from the Heartland unions and the judging panel that all three finalists were forwards.
"Bloody good – that's the boys up front in the engine room getting a bit of attention there.
"It's up to the forwards to shake the tree so the backs can pick up the plums."
Despite missing out, Hudson thoroughly enjoyed a complimentary "night on the town" in Auckland, with plenty of the sponsor's beers being available.
Although he did not have a prepared speech should he have been the one called up to the stage to be interviewed by Sky TV's Scotty Stevenson, Hudson said he would have worked in a "cheeky mention to mum" to thank her for all the support of his rugby career.
Hudson will now enjoy his summer break with no more official rugby responsibilities until after the New Year.
"She's a long old hike – starts in February and goes to November."
The citation at the awards ceremony acknowledged his part in another championship-winning campaign.
"Bryn Hudson played a key role for Wanganui this year as the team stormed through the Mitre 10 Heartland season to claim the Meads Cup for the third straight year and sixth overall," it said, "this time, away from home against the fiercely competitive Horowhenua-Kapiti.
"The powerful No8 is capable of busting through defensive lines and has consistently been acknowledged as one of Wanganui's best performers.
"Hudson was also part of the New Zealand Heartland XV from their come-from-behind victory against New Zealand Marist."
The other Whanganui connection at the awards was also unsuccessful as former schoolboy Vilimoni Koroi (Otago) missed out on the Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens Player award to his team-mate and Sevens legend DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau).
Previous Heartland Players of the Year from Whanganui have been: Cameron Crowley (2008), Asaeli Tikoirotuma (2009), Peter Rowe (2010 and 2012), Jon Smyth (2011), Lindsay Horrocks (2015), and Te Rangatira Waitokia (2016).
Others to be nominated were Denning Tyrell (2006), Mike Thompson (2007), Steelie Koro (2011), Stephen Perofeta (2015) and now Hudson.