Paulo farewells Canberra with a bang
Moments after belting out Canberra's team song for the final time at GIO Stadium, Junior Paulo pondered what might have been for the Raiders in 2018.
The prevailing storyline attached to the Green Machine all year has centred around how Ricky Stuart's men would one week put the Telstra Premiership on notice only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory the next.
On Saturday they turned a late lead into a win, much to the relief of Paulo.
The giant prop said his biggest take away from three years in the nation's capital would be the support the Raiders gave his family.
"We first came down here to a place we're unfamiliar with, a place where I'd never played footy with any of the blokes in the side and what they've done for me from day one has been exceptional, and I can't thank the group for what they've done for me," Paulo said.
"Especially those who've taken in my family as their own, so that's one thing I can't thank the boys enough for."
Paulo saved arguably his best game for last in front of Canberra's fans this season, running for a team-high 191 metres as the Raiders pack took the game to the Rabbitohs.
The lead-up to the win over Souths was an emotionally-charged one for Canberra.
With finals out of the question, the wish to sned Paulo, Shannon Boyd and Blake Austin out as winners in their final home game provided all the motivation the Raiders needed.
"A couple of times this week the bottom lip's been shaky, it's been an emotional week," Paulo told NRL.com.
"We tried not to let the week be about us [players leaving], we owed it each other as a whole to play like we have in the past two weeks.
"It showed what we could have done, it's disappointing as much as it was good to get the win but reflecting on what year's been.
"But to finish with the standard [of play] we know we're capable of is a positive."
Paulo is now just one game away from re-joining the Parramatta Eels on a four-year deal.
Even though he'll be wearing blue and gold for the second period in his career, Paulo said there will always be some lime green flowing though his veins.