Ricky Stuart is standing on what he calls "cloud nine". Beer in hand on the lawns of The Lodge, Prime Minister Bob Hawke by his side.
This is surely as good as it gets. The Canberra Raiders are celebrating their first premiership, at the Prime Minister's home no less, with a delightful aroma wafting through the air.
The man holding they keys to Parliament House doubles as the club's No. 1 ticket holder, so he dubs the occasion fit for a huge barbecue to mark Canberra's thrilling extra-time grand final win over the Balmain Tigers.
Raiders hooker Steve Walters wanders over to the pair and shifts their gaze towards the huge marquee tent under which rugby league stars mix with dignitaries.
"Gee, Hazel must have been busy last night mate, it's amazing what she has put on here for us today," Walters says.
Stuart can barely contain his laughter when he remembers that typical "Boxhead" Walters humour. It certainly got a laugh out of the larrikin Prime Minister that always had that unique ability to just be "one of us".
Hazel was Hawke's wife at the time, and as capable as she might have been, putting up a whole marquee on one's own is near impossible. Especially one designed to contain the size of Glenn Lazarus and Mal Meninga.
Consider how often a former rugby league player would be quizzed about the passing of a former Prime Minister, and you get a sense of how significant the late Hawke was to the Raiders in their formative years.
Having the Prime Minister in the corner of a club still finding its way around the big smoke was a huge coup.
"For us, we just felt Bob was one of us. It was 'Mr Hawke', our Prime Minister. But to us, it was 'G'day Bob', and he wouldn't want it any other way," Stuart said.
"I really do clearly remember Bob being in the change rooms and sharing a beer with us after matches.
"He had a great ability to be leading the country, to be hosting dignitaries, and then all of a sudden being in a change room with football players having a beer with them, and being on our level.
"He would make you feel very comfortable too, he was a wonderful character who could lead his country and then be in a change room with a group of boys, sharing a beer with them.
"Making you feel comfortable was a great trait of his, he was just a wonderful human and a guy I felt really privileged to have some relationship with."
The biggest political powerbroker in town bled lime green. He hosted premiership celebration and commiseration parties at The Lodge.
He walked into the Seiffert Oval change rooms to say g'day to exhausted players after games. He shared a laugh with John "Chicka" Ferguson over a Raiders lime milk.
Hawke stood over a heartbroken Stuart as he lay sprawled across a bench with ice strapped to his troublesome groin following the 1991 grand final.
He even once declared Canberra's golden generation was worthy of a salary cap exemption because "there is no team that gives pleasure to the sporting public like the Canberra Raiders and that is what people want to see".
He was certainly not jumping on the bandwagon - Hawke was all in on the Raiders from the day he stepped into office.
Leading into the 1987 grand final he was the only one of 10 to tip the Raiders to beat Manly Warringah in one prominent Sunday newspaper's poll.
He ultimately conceded the better team won on the day as Canberra finished with their heads bowed in defeat. So why did he tip them? "I live in the bloody place," Hawke said.
Lived it. Breathed it. Played cricket for the ACT. Played golf in a Pro-AM with Greg Norman at Royal Canberra.
Hawke was simply one of the boys, riding the wave of a Raiders golden era which delivered three premierships to the capital.
These days Scott Morrison would likely be flat out splitting Jarrod Croker and Siliva Havili if they knocked on his door.
Put simply, Stuart says nobody quite gets it like Hawke did. That's why the Raiders are exploring ways to honour him before their clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.
"He's a guy that sits at the cricket and skolls a beer," Stuart said.
"He has many younger generations that know him as Bob Hawke, our ex-Prime Minister. You see other Prime Ministers try to replicate that now, but they genuinely just can't get it like Bob."
Cricket was another of Hawke's great loves. He remains the only Prime Minister to have the distinction of calling a wicket on ABC's coverage of Test cricket.
It was a good length ball tailing away to the off side, one tempting enough to see Curtly Ambrose flash at it outside the off stump and find an edge back in 1988 at the WACA Ground.
"He's got him, he's got him. I can negotiate a contract for you people, that's a wicket first ball. What's it worth?," Hawke laughed in the commentary box alongside Jim Maxwell.
"That was a very good ball. My record is now 100 per cent, isn't it? [Time to] knock off now."
But perhaps his biggest impact on cricket came in Canberra when Hawke restarted the Prime Minister's XI matches in 1984 and revitalised Manuka Oval.
It was an initiative that gave fringe players a chance to press their claims for higher honours. It gave kids something to strive for.
The former ACT representative played alongside former Cricket ACT chairman Ian McNamee, and would soon leave a legacy nearly unrivalled in Canberra.
"When I was 16 years old I was in the Turner second grade team. In those days you had to play where you lived, he was going to ANU, so he was playing with Turner, so I actually did play with the man," McNamee said.
"He was a very quiet man, a very good cricketer, but a very quiet man. A lot quieter than what he turned out to be later. He was very popular, he was very good, and he obviously did a lot to support ACT cricket."
If Stuart has his way, he would love to see a few retro Raiders jerseys in the stands at Canberra Stadium on Sunday to mark the halcyon days of which Hawke was a part.
For McNamee, just tip your cap in the direction of the Bob Hawke Stand next time you're at Manuka Oval.