It wasn't how it was meant to end.
Canberra Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker watching on from the sidelines with a head knock as the clock ran down.
While he scored a try, he didn't get the win he was looking for.
The Green Machine gave it everything for their inspirational leader's 250th NRL game, but they fell narrowly short in an epic encounter.
The Sydney Roosters edged out the Raiders 22-18 at Canberra Stadium on a chilly Sunday afternoon in front of 19,530 fans - the Raiders' biggest regular season crowd since 2010.
Croker was feeling OK after the game and said he'd look after himself overnight to ensure he was fit to play in another top-four clash against the Melbourne Storm in Melbourne on Saturday.
He was forced from the field for a head-injury assessment after he was slammed into the ground by a Joseph Manu tackle.
The only problem was there was just three minutes left and not enough time to get back to the sheds, let alone complete the HIA.
So he watched while he walked as his teammates continued to press the Roosters - but unable to land the killer blow.
He'd had a good game - scoring a try untouched on the end of some good second-phase play, converting all three of his shots at goal and producing an important tackle not long before he went off.
"It's not ideal mate. It's not ideal to finish any game like that," Croker said.
"Anyway, that's footy, that's the game we play. There isn't much we could do about it.
"Just have to worry about next week. We've got the big fella [Jack Wighton's] 150th next week, so working hard for that one."
The Raiders will have an anxious wait, with England international Elliott Whitehead put on report for his knee making contact with Roosters centre Manu's back after he slid in for a tackle in the first half.
Manu left the field for a head-injury assessment three minutes later, but he was able to return - although Roosters hooker Sam Verrills was forced off with a knee injury.
Whitehead would be a big loss, but the Raiders are flush with second rowers.
They'll also potentially welcome back centre Joey Leilua (neck).
Whitehead scored a try, getting on the end of a clever Josh Hodgson kick, which cut the margin to four points with 16 minutes remaining.
The Roosters had shot out to a 10-point margin off the back of a Daniel Tupou double - the winger benefitting from a pin-point Luke Keary kick and also quick James Tedesco hands - as well as a controversial Latrell Mitchell try.
Mitchell gathered a loose ball to score after Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad fumbled the ball after Tupou appeared to tunnel under him.
Until that point the Raiders had been in control with tries to Croker and winger Jordan Rapana overcoming Roosters lock Victor Radley's early four-pointer.
Tedesco was excellent (180 metres, two try assists and four tackle busts) as was second-rower Angus Crichton (146m).
While Hodgson again pulled the strings for the Green Machine.
In a nice touch for Croker's milestone game, he had plenty of his own supporters from Goulburn for the game.
"I would've had about 80 tickets. They gave about 250 to my junior school, 250 to my high school and 250 to my junior club so there was probably about 850 people here to be honest," he said.
AT A GLANCE
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 22 (Daniel Tupou 2, Victor Radley, Latrell Mitchell tries; Mitchell 3 goals) bt CANBERRA RAIDERS 18 (Jordan Rapana, Jarrod Croker, Elliott Whitehead tries; Croker 3 goals) at Canberra Stadium. Referees: Ashley Klein, Chris Sutton. Crowd: 19,530.