Outgoing Broncos legend Wayne Bennett quoted the late Paul Newman when he finally drew the curtain on his remarkable 21-year tenure at the NRL club.
But he could so easily have cited Frank Sinatra.
Bennett certainly did it his way.
The foundation Brisbane coach specifically asked for no special fanfare at his official swansong, last night’s Broncos awards dinner.
Stony-faced to the end, Bennett still delivered a heart-felt message to a packed Brisbane Convention Centre when he finally said goodbye to the club he had steered to six titles after helping build it from scratch in 1988.
Bennett thanked his family, the players, sponsors, fans and even the media.
“As I walk out the door, I will tell you this once and for all — I know I was not right all the time,” Bennett said.
“But at the same time, I can honestly say I never made a decision for the wrong reasons.
“I always did what I believed was the right thing for the Broncos, right to the end of my days here.
“If it meant taking a shot for the club or the players, so be it. It was never about me. It was about you and your club.
“As the late Paul Newman said, it has been a privilege to be here.”
He left the stage to a standing ovation.
It was in stark contrast to last year’s debacle when the coach curtly left Broncos CEO Bruno Cullen on stage after receiving life membership.
There was no formal farewell presentation but Bennett did receive a video tribute.
Bennett last night also paid tribute to 300-game Broncos skipper Darren Lockyer and the man credited with unearthing some of their all-time great players, recruitment guru Cyril Connell.
Bennett will officially take over the reins of St George Illawarra next season but has already begun his transition, holding a forum with Dragons players at Wollongong last Thursday.
It was a happy end to a final season that did not go to script for Bennett.
The Broncos fell to a last gasp 16-14 NRL finals loss to Melbourne — but the build-up to the game produced even more anguish.
Sam Thaiday, Karmichael Hunt and Darius Boyd were interviewed by Brisbane detectives over an alleged sexual assault.
And Lockyer admitted that it was him who tackled a Brisbane bar manager in grainy CCTV footage aired on TV news days before the knockout NRL finals clash.
Thaiday turned heads for all the right reasons last night, scooping the Broncos player awards.
The 23-year-old won the Paul Morgan Medal for player of the year as well as player’s player and best forward awards.
It was some consolation after he missed selection in Australia’s 24-strong World Cup squad.
In other Broncos awards, Hunt won best back, Bulldogs-bound hooker Mick Ennis was named most consistent and prop Nick Kenny was most improved.
New Zealand Warriors-bound winger Denan Kemp – one of seven players who will not be with the Broncos next season — was rookie of the year.
The big shoes left by Bennett have been taken up by his assistant Ivan Henjak.
Bennett officially begins work at the Dragons on December 1 after his World Cup commitments with New Zealand.