Sia Soliola can still remember the moment Jonah Lomu's hulking frame walked through the doorway.
The room at a young Soliola's primary school went quiet in the presence of rugby's first true global superstar - all 196 centimetres and 119 kilograms of him.
"I remember that vividly, when he came in and the energy that brought to the school," Soliola said.
"Just the energy that surrounds him and obviously the sport, and me understanding that and what it means to the kids.
"Everyone knew who he was and the room was pretty quiet. He was discussing his day with us.
"One of the things I was a bit sad about, was we all wanted to get autographs but they photocopied [his signature] for us.
"At that time he was one of the greatest there. It was really nice to be in the same room as him.
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"It's nice that I can actually be in this position to return that favour."
Soliola did just that alongside his Canberra Raiders teammates, who split into groups and spent Monday venturing to 24 schools across the region as part of their annual community blitz.
They did so to promote the NRL's League Stars Inspire program partly developed by Raiders great Alan Tongue and focusing on respect.
Tongue and Soliola were joined by Raiders trio Luke Bateman, Michael Oldfield and Hudson Young at Harrison primary school, where they quickly became kings of the kids.
Yet soon after it was time to get back to the pre-season grind at Raiders headquarters as their NRL campaign draws closer.
The bulk of Canberra's top 30 have returned from a stint on the south coast to assist with bushfire relief efforts, while some travelled to Perth for the return of the NRL Nines.
Soliola was one of the few top-line players in Perth for the two-day tournament but spent the majority of it wrapped in cotton wool.
Instead it was a chance for Canberra's rising stars to impress, and Soliola thinks they have done just that with a host of rookies catching his eye.
Among them were outside backs Harley Smith-Shields and Matt Timoko, former NSW under 20s lock Darby Medlyn, and a "nice surprise" in back-rower Kai O'Donnell.
"Us that travelled to the Nines got a good gauge on some of the young stars coming through. It's nice to get back into Canberra and get a bit of work done," Soliola said.
"The whole experience, seeing and being amongst different clubs and different players, they would have got a huge kick out of it.
"Daine Spencer, man, he was a little ball of energy. You couldn't slow him down, he really enjoyed it. For those guys to run out and be in that environment would have been a really good [experience].
"I was going to test the waters a bit and see if I could take an interchange slip and get in there, but it wasn't meant to be.
"It was different being on the outside. I speak to a lot of guys about what [coaching] is like, and I got a good gauge on the part you can't control and you've got to leave it up to them to do the work.
"I'm used to it being the other way around when I can be amongst it, I can control things. That was quite different."
Tongue says the chance for school kids to connect with Raiders players is crucial - because in rugby league he can find a message that carries into everyday life.
"That was the message from my under 6 coach, 'pass the ball the way you want to receive it'," Tongue said.
"Those messages that have been with me pretty much my whole life, is treating others how you want to be treated."
I remember that vividly, when he came in and the energy that brought. It's nice that I can actually be in this position to return that favour.Sia Soliola on his brush with Jonah Lomu