Joe Roff still remembers the words he gave his teammates deep in the bowels of Canberra Stadium with a record crowd waiting outside.
"This will go for the full 80 minutes, it will only be decided at the end, and if we've got the character to win it, then we will," Roff said.
Twenty minutes later the ACT Brumbies were 33 points clear and on their way to the 2004 Super Rugby title against a Canterbury Crusaders outfit which seemingly had no answers.
"So somebody on the field quipped 'is this really going to go for 80 minutes?' It wasn't only the sense of occasion, the game itself lived up to everything we like about rugby," Roff said.
"I played in big stadiums around the world but the atmosphere that night was like nothing we had ever experienced.
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"In part because you could look into the crowd and you saw people you knew, our community was present and appreciating the whole of Canberra was seeing something special that night.
"Looking into the crowd, you could see faces you pass in the street and you talk about rugby with in the street. It had that genuine connection between the crowd and the team."
The crowd of 28,753 still stands as a Canberra Stadium record. The 2004 triumph is still the Brumbies' last Super Rugby championship. It remains the last grand final played in the capital.
Until Saturday night. Because now the Brumbies of today have a chance to create history when they host the Queensland Reds in the Super Rugby AU final at Canberra Stadium.
Yet this is a year that cannot be compared to the glory days of 2000 to 2004, which bore four grand final appearances in five years for two wins. Three came against the Crusaders, three came on home soil in front of packed grandstands.
This year they will meet an interstate rival in the Reds after the coronavirus pandemic saw borders slammed shut and led governing bodies to establish their own domestic competitions.
The crowd will be capped at 6000 as the ACT government takes small steps towards returning to a normal world, making it a far cry from the days temporary stands were built at each end of the ground.
Former Brumbies scrumhalf George Gregan can still rattle off the try-scorers that sent the crowd into an "amazing" frenzy on that famous May night 16 years ago. There was Roff, Mark Gerrard, Matt Giteau and Jeremy Paul.
"It's one of my favourite stadiums, Canberra Stadium, they made a lot of noise and they were really passionate supporters. You definitely had a home ground advantage when you played there," Gregan said.
"It will be different but everyone has adapted really well during this period of COVID, and they have too. I'm sure there will be a crowd there and they'll be really supportive of the Brumbies.
"It's a unique time in everyone's world at the moment, they'll be really appreciative of everyone who turns up. They'll be really motivated to put in their best performance of Super Rugby AU."
Roff looks back at names like Giteau and Stirling Mortlock as players that felt like juniors before developing into household names alongside Gregan, Stephen Larkham and Owen Finegan.
So what to make of this team? How does a largely unheralded backline stack up to the star-studded outfit of yesteryear? How does an all-star pack compare?
Roff deems it near impossible to draw comparisons between the two squads, so different are the eras in which they came, and so different is the landscape this year. But one thing is for sure.
"I'm always proud to be a Brumby, but particularly proud this year. They've been through adversity and pulled together, better than any other team," Roff said.
"It's a final and anything can happen, but they have prepared as well as they can. I would love nothing more than for this to be the next title for the Brumbies."
SUPER RUGBY AU GRAND FINAL
Saturday: ACT Brumbies v Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium, 7.15pm.