It was a long drive back to Canberra, quite literally, as the Raiders looked to drown their NRL grand final sorrows on an adventurous return to the capital.
They opted to take the scenic route home on Monday, using the trip to celebrate and commiserate their season before arriving back in Canberra late.
Raiders fans will get their chance to give them the heroes welcome they deserve after their courageous grand final efforts fell narrowly short, going down to the Sydney Roosters 14-8 on Sunday.
They'll be at Raiders Belconnen on Tuesday from 12.30pm.
It could also double as a farewell to some members of the Green Machine, with the futures of Jordan Rapana, Joey Leilua and Aidan Sezer up in the air.
Rapana's yet to sign a contract for next season and looks set to switch to Japanese rugby.
Leilua and Sezer are contracted to the Raiders for next year, but the club wouldn't stand in their way if they find long-term deals elsewhere.
Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker felt it was the start of something special in Canberra.
It was the Green Machine's first grand final since 1994 and they almost celebrated the 30th anniversary of their inaugural premiership with another one.
Croker couldn't have been prouder of his team for their efforts as they pushed the Roosters right until the end.
But he was also gutted after they missed out on creating their own piece of history.
Now they'll look to try and go one step further next year. He was part of the team that made the 2016 preliminary final.
"I believe it is [the start of something], but it's tough to talk and look at those sort of things at the moment," Croker said.
"It's pretty empty, but I just can't emphasise how proud of I am them."
Raiders recruit John Bateman was confident they would take that one extra step to end Canberra's premiership drought.
He's a pretty good judge of these things.
The England international was playing in his fifth grand final in six years, having played in four in the Super League - and winning two - while he was Wigan.
Bateman's been a revelation in his first NRL campaign, getting named the best second-rower in the competition.
He's already developed a special bond with his Raiders teammates and was keen to extend his time in the capital.
Bateman's contracted until the end of 2021.
He said they would learn a lot from the loss - more than they would've if they'd won - and felt that would drive them to greater heights in the future.
The 26-year-old is expected to be named in the Great Britain Lions squad that will play two games against the New Zealand Kiwis in November.
"There is a special bunch of players here. We'll go on for years to come and we'll be in positions like this again and we'll get the win, I'm 100 per cent sure about it," Bateman said.
"The culture of the people who come through this club is special.
"We've had a special year, obviously we've not got the win we really wanted to get at the end and that's what people get remembered for, but we'll remember each other for what we have done.
"You take more from the games you lose, you learn what you're about and we'll take a lot out of tonight, there were some special moments in that game. We were close, very close.
"It's a very long season, but we'll get back on board and come back next year."