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Newcastle fan favourite Timana Tahu spent hours personally thanking the fans who hung around after he rolled back the clock in his final NRL game – before he revealed a move to Europe could be on the cards.
Not one hand was left unshaken nor one photo denied by the long-serving Knights centre following a final victorious game in the red and blue, against the Dragons at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
While his time on the field came at the expense of a heavily concussed Joey Leilua, Tahu was able to wind back the clock to score two tries in the 40-10 win over the Red V which left the 20,000-strong contingent at Hunter Stadium in raptures on Newcastle's appropriately named Old Boys' Day.
For 33-year-old Tahu, who racked up 126 appearances and 93 tries in his time at the Knights, his presence on the field two hours after the final whistle was blown was his way of thanking the Novocastrians who stuck around afterwards to congratulate him on a wonderful NRL career that began all the way back in 1999.
"This is probably one of the most passionate fan bases you can get. It doesn't matter if you're dead last, getting the wooden spoon or if you're coming first – you're going to get the same crowd turning up to these games week-in, week-out," Tahu told NRL.com.
"They bleed red and blue and even for me I was just thanking them... because people have work and school tomorrow. I was just giving them something back because they hung around for me."
While his time in the NRL has come to an end, Tahu was thankful rather than remorseful and was thankful coach Wayne Bennett had handed him two more cracks at the big time and allowing him to "finish his career on a high".
With a classic Tahu slam dunk over the crossbar to cap off his first try of the afternoon, the Central Charlestown junior was happy to bring back memories for the Newcastle faithful.
"It was great to score those two tries and to do a slam dunk for the crowd. The boys have been geeing me up the past couple of weeks and I think the fans wanted to see it so I gave them one more. I'm just happy the old legs held up," Tahu laughed.
"When I scored the boys were like 'get over there' but I was waiting for one of the Dragons boys to knock the ball out of my hands – but I got it out and the fans loved it.
"It was a great win and I think we sent the crowd out on a high and gave the Old Boys' some entertainment, and for the staff and for the players leaving, it is a better environment tonight and I think they'll enjoy their Mad Monday."
While Tahu won't be in on the end of year festivities – he has a NSW Cup finals campaign to continue on with – it will allow the dual-international, yet to decide where his future lies, a chance to impress overseas clubs.
"I'm still looking overseas at the moment but nothing has been cemented yet. I'd like to finish my career off– whether it is rugby or league – over in Europe," Tahu said.
"My family are ready to move overseas and experience a bit of travelling and I feel I have about two or three years left in me. I'd love give my kids some experience and show them there is a bigger world out there than just Newcastle."
While Tahu may be leaving Newcastle, he certainly won't be forgotten anytime soon.