Terry Campese can still picture his nan in the stands watching his every move.
The cheers, the smiles, the chats at full-time.
Joan Campese died on Friday. She wasn't there to see her grandson steer the Monaro Colts to the NSW country championships title in an 18-16 win over the Illawarra South Coast Dragons in Blacktown a day later.
But the Monaro playing-coach knew she was watching. So this one was for nan, the mother of Campese's mum Lisa and uncle David, a Wallabies legend.
"She was a huge part of my life, every game she was at," Campese said.
"To hear the news on the way up [on Friday] was devastating. She's in a better place, it's a sad old disease, Alzheimer's, she has been in a nursing home for seven years now.
"It's a tough situation for anyone, especially my old girl [Lisa]. She has done a lot and they've been best friends forever.
"I feel really bad for my old girl, they've been a big part of my footy career, they've watched every game they could get to. It's a special moment to lift that trophy for them.
"It was a reason to put a little bit more effort in. I ran out of energy pretty early, fatiguing going through that stuff. In the ended it was a game for her so it made me just give that extra."
The Colts needed every bit of that extra. The Dragons struck first and scores were locked at 10-apiece heading into the half-time break at H.E Laybutt Sporting Complex.
Illawarra took a 16-10 lead before Colts fullback Tristan Eldridge scored in the corner, with Campese levelling the scores with a conversion from touch.
A 63rd-minute penalty from Campese would fittingly prove the difference, as the Colts repelled a host of late charges to hold on and claim the country championship in a thriller.
"These special moments only happen when you're close, there were a few guys that had never lifted a trophy before so that was a big driving force for us," Campese said.
"The boys said before the game they wanted to put in extra for myself. That brings a tear to my eye, to be honest, it's pretty special to have a bunch of guys band together for that.
"We've only played together for four or five weeks now, so it was definitely a special moment in my career."
AT A GLANCE
NSWRL country championships final: MONARO COLTS 18 (Jake Butler-Fleming, William Peace, Tristan Eldridge tries; Terry Campese 3 goals) bt ILLAWARRA SOUTH COAST DRAGONS 16 (Ryan James 2, Dylan Farrell tries; Cameron Vazzoler 2 goals) at H.E Laybutt Sporting Complex.