Like every big game, an NRL season is defined by moments.

Last year's Grand Final will be etched into history via the Stephen Crichton intercept try, 2019 was Latrell Mitchell's flick pass to set up Tedesco's match-winner. The 2015 decider had a lot of them.

Parramatta's season is no different, and arguably their biggest moment of 2022 came from the club's forgotten man - Ray Stone.

Rewind to Round 3, a golden point clash against Melbourne at AAMI Park, and Stone finally had his moment.

Locked at 18-18 with just ten minutes remaining, Stone crossed for what he thought was the match-winner via a falcon, though the rugby league gods had a grander finale for the lock forward in mind.

Ryan Papenhuyzen crossed five minutes later, and suddenly Melbourne were into the second golden point match within ten days.

Re-enter, Ray Stone.

A botched Mitchell Moses field goal sent the Parramatta faithful from jeers to cheers as one of the only onside chasers, Stone, regathered the ball metres out from the line, a nifty right-foot step tearing his ACL in two, and securing the victory at the same time he planted the ball down.

It would be the last play Ray would ever make in an Eels jersey.

A knee reconstruction cruelly ended Stone's season, having already put pen to paper as one of the Dolphins' first-ever recruits.

Yet without that moment, without Ray Stone, Parramatta wouldn't have secured those two crucial competition points - ultimately proving the difference between a top four finish, and an elimination final.

MACKAY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 18: Ray Stone of the Eels looks dejected after the NRL Semifinal match between Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels at BB Print Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Mackay, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Had Stone not run through and grabbed that ball, Parramatta would've likely beaten Canberra in the first week of finals, advanced to an away semi-final against Melbourne, and faced South Sydney, who the can never seem to trouble, in the preliminary final.

If it hadn't been for Ray Stone, Sunday afternoon would've likely been a rematch of the 2021 NRL Grand Final.

While it's that singular moment that's secured so much for Parramatta in 2022, yet the modest 25 year-old refuses to accept the praise as his team mates get ready for their biggest career game.

“I'm not taking any credit. I just did my job on the night," Stone told The Sunday Telegraph.

“The boys have done all the hard work and gone extremely well at the back end of the year when it really counted. I couldn't be prouder of them.”

While he's accepted the end of his Western Sydney career as the utility packs for Redcliffe, Stone admits his frustrations over watching the team succeed while he sat in the rehab room.

“I took a step back because I'd probably be more frustrated if I was inside the meetings and doing all the other stuff,” he said.

“I'm not sure it would have been good for my head space. I've pretty much been a fan all year, just cheering every week.

“Life goes on and I'm concentrating on getting myself right for next year.”

NRL Rd 3 - Storm v Eels
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 26: The Eels congratulate Ray Stone of the Eels as he celebrates scoring a try during the round three NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the Parramatta Eels at AAMI Park, on March 26, 2022, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Stone is afraid of hexing his side by predicting a blue-and-gold victory, he didn't hide his excitement at a potential Parramatta premiership.

“I don't want to jinx the boys. I just hope they all play well because it's a huge opportunity and I'll be so stoked for them if we can win," Stone said.

“I'd have loved to have been out there with them but it wasn't to be.

“It's going to be hard leaving Parra but very satisfying if we can get the job done.”

While Eels fans rue the loss of Isaiah Papali'i, Reed Mahoney, Oregon Kaufusi and Marata Niukore, don't forget Ray Stone amongst the madness, the humble pillar Parramatta built their season upon.