Jack Wighton struggles to find the words as he tries to comprehend "the worst moment of my life".
He fronts the media with the slightest hint of a glassy eye from which one almost expects tears to fall at any moment.
He sits before you an empty man after a long-awaited NRL grand final appearance ended in circumstances so many fear.
The chance to walk on stage and accept the Clive Churchill Medal as the player judged best afield while his Canberra Raiders teammates had nothing provided little solace.
Instead, it left him numb after the Raiders fell 14-8 in a grand final set to go down in history as one of the most controversial at Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday night.
And Wighton was at the centre of the play that turned the contest on its head. He believes referee Ben Cummins signalled "six again" as the Raiders pressed deep in enemy territory.
Yet the call was changed during the play and Wighton died with the ball, unsure of what has just transpired. The Roosters take possession, and two plays later they take the lead.
MORE GRAND FINAL NEWS
Wighton is the fourth player to win the medal from a losing team, joining Raiders lock Bradley Clyde (1991), St George forward Brad Mackay (1993) and Daly Cherry-Evans (2013).
"It was a very numb feeling to achieve something so big, it was probably the worst moment of my life, losing a grand final," Wighton said.
"At the same time I am extremely proud of the boys, I love every single one of them and our actions next year will tell us whether we're going to back it up. I'm very proud of the boys, it's just a very weird feeling at the minute."
There is little doubt the Raiders five-eighth was deserving of the award.
It was Wighton who kept the underdogs in the contest when the Roosters threatened to break away. He had 62 touches - his halves partner Aidan Sezer had 36.
Wighton scored Canberra's only try, made 97 running metres and had six tackle busts - yet his effort did little to endear him to "wombats" in the Roosters' supporter bays.
The 26-year-old was booed as he stepped on stage to receive the medal with a sea of red, white and blue fuming they didn't have something else to celebrate.
But for Raiders coach Ricky Stuart, there is no doubt.
"The best player on the field got the award tonight," Stuart said.
"Whether those people out there that booed agree or not, Jack didn't pick it. Three legends of our game picked the award.
"I think they know a little bit more than the wombats sitting in there behind the goals."
He may not know it today, for Wighton will be dogged by a hollow feeling for days, perhaps even weeks or months.
But this was a herculean effort by the Raiders five-eighth, and one thoroughly deserving of a place in the history books.
AT A GLANCE
NRL grand final: SYDNEY ROOSTERS 14 (Sam Verrills, James Tedesco tries; Latrell Mitchell 3 goals) bt CANBERRA RAIDERS 8 (Jack Wighton try; Jarrod Croker 2 goals) at Sydney Olympic Park. Crowd: 82,922.