Steve Luby won the inaugural ACT Hero Award on Friday night. Photo: Melissa Adams
Steve Luby's remarkable 10-wicket haul catapulted him into cricket folklore, but the way he handled his battle with depression and his inspirational story earned him the inaugural ACT Hero award on Friday night.
Wests lower-grade cricketer Luby became the first recipient of the prize, which recognises excellence in sport from someone who has had to overcome off-field struggles.
And there was no one more deserving than Luby.
Luby destroyed the Queanbeyan batting line-up in February, claiming 10-21 and a hat-trick with a stunning bowling effort.
Only two players in Test cricket history - Jim Laker and Anil Kumble - have managed the same feat.
He was chaired off the field at Kaleen and when he spoke to The Canberra Times he couldn't hide his excitement before revealing his battle with depression.
''It's like finding a leprechaun, a fairy and a four-leaf clover all in one day, it's still sinking in,'' an elated Luby said at the time.
''It just feels weird, it's like winning Powerball. It's the stuff dreams are made of, it's remarkable.''
But the road to get there was long and brutal.
Luby has battled the inner demons of depression for most of his life and stopped playing cricket when he was 16.
His father died of cancer in 2000 and it wasn't until a counsellor advised him to return to cricket in 2004 that he joined Wests.
It's a decision he says changed his life and now he wants to be a role model.
And it was fitting Victoria Cross medal winner - the highest military accolade - Ben Roberts-Smith was on stage to present Luby with his prize.
''This has been a bit of an evergreen year for me … cricket is just something I'm passionate about. The support the club has given me through my tough times has been amazing - they've changed my life,'' Luby said in February.
''Absolutely I appreciate something like this more because of what has happened in the past.
''I try to be a role model for the guys at the club about depression and being positive.''