South Sydney's victorious Auckland Nines captain Issac Luke was humbled by the chance to hold aloft a victory trophy in front of his home country and family as captain, but was reluctant to suggest it eased the pain of watching from the sidelines as his teammates claimed the 2014 Telstra Premiership.
"I sort of left that day back in October, the boys got me through that day, but we sort of used that inspiration," Luke said after the side's epic golden try win in the 10th minute of extra time.
"It's humbling, to be able to captain our great team, with the history of our club, to be able to hold that up for our boys and family.
"Words can't describe how I'm feeling."
His teammate Adam Reynolds, whose pinpoint kicking game was crucial to the side's final win and a huge part of his surge to tournament MVP honours, said the team had spoken before the game of helping Luke to lift a trophy following his Grand Final disappointment.
"It was good for him to lift the trophy, he was a big part of us lifting the trophy; he was a big part of us winning the grand final last year," Reynolds said.
"All credit to him, he's worked really hard in the off season, he's in the right frame of mind and it was pleasing to see him lift the trophy."
Reynolds was joined in the official team of the tournament by Luke, who was massive throughout the weekend, as well as George Burgess.
After being so pivotal throughout the final, Reynolds was finally taken from the field right before Luke laid on the match-winning try to renaissance man Matt King.
"Yeah mate it was just a cork, nothing too serious. I was out of breath mate, it seems we had all the ball but credit to the Sharks, their defence was unbreakable at times, we camped down on their end for a bit there and the smarts of Issac got us across," he said of the frantic final stages.
"I think we kept going a bit too much sideways, got away from our game plan of going through the middle, but credit to them, they scrambled well and made it tough for us to get through.
"It's pleasing, it puts a smile on the face, all the hard work in the pre-season, this is a bonus for us, we've got a few big weeks coming up now. Our focus is on the next few weeks."