With 15 minutes to go in the NRL grand final, the hundreds packed inside Raiders Belconnen sensed that maybe, just maybe, Canberra's 25-year premiership drought was about to be broken.
A quarter of an hour later, their collective hearts were broken as the Sydney Roosters ran out 14-8 winners.
"That's bullsh---t," bellowed one incredulous fan as the final whistle sounded, no doubt in reference to the contentious refereeing decision which will come to define Sunday's decider.
The cries of anger and frustration were soon drowned out by applause, as dozens of fans spontaneously stood to celebrate a season which brought successes few of them could have foreseen.
"I'm really proud of the team, and the season they have had," Raiders fan Kirsty Coulson said.
Some supporters sat with their heads in their hands. Others quietly sipped on their drinks.
A lone Roosters fan, cock-a-hoop with back-to-back premierships, taunted the despondent Raiders supporters. It was not well received.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of Raiders fans - and a few, brave, Sydney Roosters supporters - filed in to Raiders Belconnen and West Belconnen Oval in Kippax to cheer on their sides in the NRL decider.
A quarter of a century after Canberra last clinched rugby league's biggest prize, the Raiders faithful were a bundle of nervous excitement as they gathered at the live site before kick off.
"I'm going to cry no matter what tonight," said Julian Kemp, as he lapped up the balmy Spring weather with his Raiders-loving mates.
Partners Luke Burns and Sammie Adams were all smiles as they shared a pint of green-coloured beer outside Raiders Belconnen.
Their relationship was tested later on Sunday night - Luke loves the Raiders, while Sammie is a proud Roosters fans.
"They [Roosters] won last year, so I'm not going to be greedy - I'll be happy if the Raiders won," she said.
Steve Mitchell was a one-year-old boy when Ricky Stuart - then the Green Machine's star halfback - led the Raiders to the 1994 NRL premiership, the club's third title in six years.
Starved of success since that golden era, Steve was hopeful that Jarrod Crocker's men could break the Raiders' drought.
"I'm a bit worried to be honest," he said.
As Mal Meninga blew the viking horn inside ANZ Stadium to signal the start of Canberra's pre-game chant, fans back at Kippax Oval stood in unison, hands aloft, to clap along.
An early Roosters try was met with groans from those crammed inside Raiders Belconnen.
But the mood began to lift as the half wore on.
Cautious optimism turned to euphoria when Jack Wighton crossed on the 30-minute mark. A cheer of "Raiders, Raiders" broke out from those gathered in green.
Every tackle and near line-break triggered rapturous applause.
The Green Machine built on the momentum after the interval and looked for all money as though they would breach the Roosters' line once more. Maybe, just maybe, the drought was about to end.
Alas, it was not to be.
For the Raiders faithful, the wait goes on.