Ricky Stuart was halfway through his speech at the club’s presentation night when emotions took over.
Stuart, as tough a footballer as there was during his playing days, was unable to continue when he started paying tribute to departing players Jack Wighton and Jarrod Croker.
It was almost as if the reality had struck home that neither would be at the club next season.
With the coach struggling to compose himself, Wighton and Croker took to the stage and finished Stuart’s speech.
If nothing else, it highlights the family atmosphere that has been nurtured at the Raiders.
Earlier, both players spoke about their time at the club.
Wighton described how hard it was to tell Stuart and his teammates that he would be heading to South Sydney next season. He also talked about coming to the club as a boy and leaving as a man.
Croker said he was already in talks with CEO Don Furner about an off-field role with the club in 2024.
Stuart also paid tribute to Matt Frawley, who is heading to UK Super League team, Leeds Rhinos.
The major award, the Meninga Medal, was won for the second year in a row by prop Joe Tapine.
The NRL Coaches Award went to Sebastian Kris, while Janelle Williams won the NRLW Coaches Award.
The Fred Daly Club Person of the Year Award went to Jamal Fogarty to acknowledge his outstanding work in the Canberra community.
It was a night to remember, particularly as this tight-knit club emotionally farewelled three of its respected members: Jack Wighton, Jarrod Croker and Matt Frawley.