If his words somehow didn’t do it justice, Queensland Reds halfback Will Genia illustrated just how much Suncorp Stadium means to him with a simple gesture after his final home game for the club.
The Reds were dealt a 24-3 defeat by the Chiefs to add a tinge of frustration to the cocktail of emotions that bubbled in Brisbane as Genia and former captain James Horwill said goodbye to an adoring crowd of more than 25,000 fans.
But it took no gloss off the occasion for Genia, who knelt down amidst a gushing on-field farewell presentation after the match and kissed the turf.
“A bit over the top, but I love this place,” he said.
“I’ve never taken for granted the opportunity to play here at Suncorp, it’s an incredible stadium.
“It’s the old cliche – I never thought I’d play for Queensland. Ever.
“Never thought I’d play one game, let alone 100 games.
“I’ve appreciated it a hell of a lot.”
Genia and Horwill, who will both play in Europe next season, have one more chance to taste victory in their Reds careers when they face the NSW Waratahs in Sydney next weekend to close a dismal Super Rugby season.
Queensland had their chances to notch a win against the Chiefs on the back of their overwhelming set-piece dominance, but fluffed their lines in attack and were made to pay by the three-try visitors, who were comparatively surgical in their precision going forward.
“We threw a lot of shots at them – I don’t think anyone’s going to say that we didn’t go down swinging,” Horwill said.
“We just came up short, we gave them some unstructured ball that they cherished and they capitalised on a couple of opportunities that they got.”
Coach Richard Graham admits it will be impossible to replace the 200-plus games of experience Horwill and Genia will take with them when they leave.
“It leaves an enormous dent,” he said.
“The passion, dedication and commitment that both of them (show) in terms of their training and playing, it’s certainly going to be missed.
“This week is an emotional week because it’s both their last game here but as we said in the changerooms, there’s still one more game to go.
“I reckon the performance that we’ll see from both these guys next week will be a true indication of how much they care about the place.”