Ben Cummins' hand shot into the sky and waved thrice to signal six again.
So Canberra Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton tucked the ball under his arm and charged into the defence as his side prepared to hammer the Sydney Roosters' defensive line inside the final 10 minutes.
But as the tackle was made, the whistle blew. Handover. He had changed his call during the play, and unaware was ball carrier Wighton.
Attack had suddenly turned into defence - and this was one raid Canberra could not repel as Dally M medallist James Tedesco swooped on an offload to put the Roosters ahead 14-8.
Just like that, every NRL fan's worst fear was realised - a refereeing howler had inadvertently proved the difference in the grand final at Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday night.
For Canberra's 25-year wait for a premiership win lives for another year, and the Roosters become the first team to go back-to-back in a unified competition since 1993. The way it happened is unjust.
MORE GRAND FINAL NEWS
Grand finals are built on those moments.
Moments like a Sia Soliola charge down rebounding into a Roosters trainer when Raiders back-rower Elliott Whitehead was the lone chaser with open pasture ahead, earning Sydney a scrum feed.
Like Whitehead's ill-fated attempt to burrow over from dummy half on the last tackle during Canberra's first real chance at breaching the Roosters' defence. You simply have to be more crafty against a Trent Robinson-coached outfit.
Like Nick Cotric failing in his attempt to swat a ball back into the field of play after the Roosters had played at it deep inside their red zone.
Like Mitchell Aubusson being helped off the park little more than 13 minutes into the contest - a far cry from the role he played in the Roosters' greatest ruse with a No. 7 on his back 12 months ago.
Grand finals are built on those moments. But grand final wins are a by-product of the response.
Like the Roosters keeping the Green Machine at bay when they were a man down due to a professional foul in the second half.
"How do you know he was going to score?" irate Roosters captain Boyd Cordner asked.
He doesn't know, nor does he need to. For the moment Sydney halfback Cooper Cronk was sin-binned for a professional foul, the right call had been made.
It allowed Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker to add two points and level the scores with 30 minutes left on the clock in the NRL grand final.
And as Cronk made his way up the race and back onto the sideline in the dying seconds of his 10-minute exile, the Raiders bombed a certain try.
Centre Joey Leilua opted to take on the defence when a pass to the man over his right shoulder would have put the Green Machine ahead. Instead Leilua was brought down, and all Jordan Rapana could do was ground a ball following a forward pass. No try.
On came Cronk. The next and final time he came from a rugby league field, he was, again, a premiership winner.
AT A GLANCE
NRL grand final: SYDNEY ROOSTERS 14 (Sam Verrills, James Tedesco tries; Latrell Mitchell 3 goals) bt CANBERRA RAIDERS 8 (Jack Wighton try; Jarrod Croker 2 goals) at Sydney Olympic Park. Crowd: 82,922.
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- 'The worst moment' of Wighton's life
- Anger and applause: how fans reacted to loss
- Roosters trainer gets in way of play, and Roosters get advantage
- The NRL grand final in pictures
- Pride of the city: Heartbroken Raiders just starting their journey
- Green Army stand behind fallen Canberra Raiders
- What they said after the grand final: 'Numb' Raiders left heartbroken
- What comes next for after grand final loss?
- Gracious Raiders bite tongues over NRL refereeing controversy