When he sat back down a few minutes later, he was kicking himself.
"I had to cut it short. I ended up sobbing halfway through, I just couldn't get any more words out," Luai tells NRL.com.
He wasn't the only one. Luai's son Jarome, the latest in a line of NSW five-eighths from Kenny to Daley, Fittler to Maloney, kept his head low for a long time.
For the Luai family though – mum Raumako, Luai's partner Bailey and his three younger siblings, heads have never been held higher.