In an emotional tsunami of relief and joy at the Raiders winning their way into the NRL grand final, Victor the Viking literally lost his head.
And when the mascot's hot and sweaty costume head parted ways with his broad shoulders, Tony Wood's tears were plain to see.
His long-suffering family, deep in the crowd at Bay 18 at Bruce Stadium, recognised the gesture for what it was - and promptly burst into tears, too.
For 37 years of having what he describes as "the best seat in the house", only once before had Tony Wood veered from unspoken rule number two of being a sporting mascot: never remove your head in front of your footballing public.
"The only previous time I've removed the head in public was when I was presented with the game ball to celebrate my 600th game as the mascot back in 2016," Mr Wood said.
Friday night's big moment - and one which may have traumatised young children at the game - came after a long and emotional build-up week to the home game and preliminary final.
"This time last week I was just a wreck; in fact, I was a wreck all week," he admitted, with his wife, Sally, nodding in agreement.
"The lead-up to Friday's game had been so fraught with emotion. I was on edge all week; really nervous and anxious.
"So when Josh Papalii scored that incredible try and I knew the game was all but won, that was when all that pent-up emotion just flooded out."
Under the helmet horns, the foam rubber and the flowing synthetic locks, he was crying. But no one could see it under Victor's expressionless face.
So 10 minutes after the final siren, as the fans remained standing and kept applauding, he made his way across the field, stood in front of his family and cast Victor's big head to the ground, his eyes still wet with tears of joy.
Sally Wood, who was watching on with her three daughters and other family members, said the gesture sent the crowd wild.
"We had total strangers behind us and they couldn't believe it," she said.
"Neither could I, to be honest."
Tony Wood said he wanted people to see how he felt.
"When you are under the head, no one can see your face so you have to express yourself physically which I've got pretty good at," he said.
"But in that incredible moment, that just wasn't enough. I needed to show my face."
Mr Wood has been the mascot for the Raiders since 1983 when, after a bus ride back from a Sydney game, fans came up with the concept of Victor. Some helpful special needs supporters developed the first papier-mache head.
There have been eight different iterations of Victor in 37 years and at the start of the 2018 season he was joined on the field by Velda the Valkyrie, who is "played" by professional dancer Emily Gageldonk.
"Emily has a lot more moves than Victor," Mr Wood said.
"She's much lighter on her feet. Victor can't dance to save himself."
There were some concerns that all the tension wasn't good for Victor's health as the man under the helmet had a quadruple heart bypass a few years ago.
But making the grand final, he said, has lifted a great burden from his shoulders.
He's reasonably relaxed and looking forward to the "big dance" this weekend, when Victor and Velda will be in the stadium to enthuse what is expected to be a huge Raiders support crowd.
"We're there, we've earned our big chance. And it's going to be fantastic."