For Newcastle Knights coach Wayne Bennett it was very much a bittersweet moment.
Walking through the hordes of fans on his way to Hunter Stadium for Sunday’s clash against Cronulla, Bennett was faced with the pure fanaticism of the Knights’ faithful.
From specially made jumpers and signs, the supporters went out of their way to honour the Club’s injured back-rower Alex McKinnon and the veteran mentor could feel it.
“It’s funny, I didn’t expect it to hit me the way it did,” Bennett said after the Knights’ commanding 30-0 win over the Sharks.
“I felt the angst when I came to the ground.
“But when I saw the jerseys and the people and fans wearing the colours and that, I realised they’ve been through the same pain and hurt that we’ve been in.
“So I didn’t want to look at too many of them to be honest with you.
“It wasn’t good for my eyes.
“I was starting to get tears I was.”
Bennett may have struggled to look at some fans, but he admits he couldn't be prouder of the community's support in the wake of McKinnon's tragic spinal injury.
He says the scenes at Hunter Stadium were amazing and has encouraged everyone to maintain their encouragement for Alex in the weeks ahead.
“The fans have been wonderful,” he beams.
“A football club is its fans.
“Without your fans, you don’t have a club and they’ve been right behind us.”
Because, you see, that's the Newcastle way.