With Luke Lewis watching on, Penrith’s greatest ever player, Greg Alexander, declared the job of captain as the most prestigious in club football.
Moments later, Lewis was officially appointed Penrith’s skipper for 2012 – replacing Petero Civoniceva who quit the club at the end of last season.
“He aspired to play for the club and now he gets the chance to lead – it’s a great honour,” Alexander said at the announcement on Tuesday.
“We’re certainly excited and there’s much anticipation about the year ahead.”
With his wife and family watching on, and his childhood hero Brad Fittler keeping an eye on proceedings from the back of the room, Lewis accepted the top gig from new coach, Ivan Cleary.
“It’s massive shoes to fill but something I am definitely looking forward to and hopefully I can do the job to the best of my ability and lead this team to some success,” Lewis said.
Lewis admits keeping the news a secret, particularly with so much interest surrounding the captaincy situation. was tough.
“Ivan told me to keep it quiet but I couldn’t get the smile off my face,” he said.
“As soon as I got in the car I had to ring my parents and my wife… it was probably the best feeling in my life.”
Cleary said it wasn’t a tough decision to give Lewis the job, declaring him a natural leader.
“Sometimes with a great leader it is pretty obvious and it’s been perfectly obvious in the last couple of weeks when Luke’s been back at training how everyone wants to follow him,” he said.
“I’ve admired Luke from a distance and now I’ve got the pleasure to work with him.”
Lewis revealed he spoke to former skipper Civoniceva the day before the official announcement was made.
“I learned a lot from Pet – he’s probably the nicest bloke you’ll ever meet in rugby league,” Lewis said.
“I talked to Pet yesterday and he’s always asking how the boys are and making sure the boys at this club come first.”