NRL star and New Zealand Warriors centre Jonathon Wright has achieved a lot on in his top-flight career but he was lost for words yesterday after his try sealed Redfern All Blacks No.1's win in one of the greatest Koori Knockout grand finals of all time.
The competition is in its 45th year and Wright, who has a strong connection with the carnival, was in tears as he was mobbed by teammates after scoring in the corner during the second period of golden point against the Newcastle All Blacks.
"There's no words to describe this and it means a lot to me," he said after the 36-32 victory.
"I've played over 110 NRL games but my Dad is one of the founders of the Knockout and he won 11 of these and all I wanted to do as a boy was to win one of them.
"I've been playing these since I was a little kid and all I wanted to do was win one of these and an NRL premiership and I've ticked off one now and I can move on to the next stage."
At half-time it appeared Redfern were headed for a comprehensive loss with the Newcastle All Blacks shooting out to a 22-6 lead on the back of Briggs brothers Scott, Jacob and Randall.
The team from the south of Sydney needed to be the first to score after the break and they did that when Reece Robinson, one of six Redfern players with NRL experience, crossed the line, but Newcastle hit back and extended the lead to 26-12.
Two converted tries had Redfern down by just two but again their opposition lifted and crossed through Billy Towers.
Not even a Brendan Williams try with three minutes to go was enough to level it up for Redfern but right on full-time they were given a penalty 49m out, right in front and Shane Nolan nailed it to send the crowd into raptures and the match into golden-point extra time.
Both sides missed field goals during the first period, Scott Briggs from virtually right in front, but with time winding down in the second period Redfern got into an attacking position and swung the ball from left to right and Robinson was able to put Wright over.
Fan favourite Nathan Merritt, who scored Redfern's first try, was incredibly emotional after the win, and said it was the best Knockout win he had experienced.
"This is the ultimate for me," he said.
"This is a massive weekend for us Indigenous people and our communities and to come here this weekend and have 63 teams and be the last one standing and take the grand final win is a wonderful feeling.
"This is my sixth one but this is the sweetest one and the one I love the most because it's been nine years since my last one and I'm enjoying myself."
Newcastle were understandably shattered, especially after they produced a clinical semi-final win earlier in the day when they dispatched of La Perouse Panthers 22-0.
Halfback Scott Briggs, outstanding for his side during all four days, was disappointed his side couldn't capitalise on their lead.
"We got to a good lead in the second half, it was eight and then 14 points but we couldn't close it out," he said, before speaking about his side's effort on finishing runners-up two years in a row.
"I'm a very proud captain and two years straight we've come up big and strong and we'll be here again next year for sure."
While the Redfern side celebrated Wright and Merritt also took time to say they took inspiration from the North Queensland Cowboys, who won a similarly epic NRL grand final on Sunday night.
"I was out there all day waiting for the ball but football goes down to the wire, you saw that last night, and the same here," Wright said, with Merritt backing up him up.
"It was self belief and watching the Cowboys last night shows there's always an opportunity so I'm just happy with the boys and we kept fighting until that last second."
As champions of the carnival Redfern win hosting rights for next year's carnival and also the $63,000 in prize money.