It was heartbreaking, but it could also be the making of the Canberra Raiders' young guns.
Raiders lock Joe Tapine expected his young teammates to benefit from the experience of playing in the NRL grand final.
Corey Horsburgh, Emre Guler, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Bailey Simonsson have just 90 NRL games between them, but that now includes the 14-8 loss to the Sydney Roosters on Sunday.
While it was Tapine's first grand final, he's played nine Tests for New Zealand - including the 2017 World Cup.
That big game experience has him confident the Raiders young guns will grow as a result of playing in the grand final.
Tapine was named in the New Zealand squad on Thursday for their end-of-season Tests against Australia and Great Britain, but he'll miss the Kangaroos one in Wollongong due to a one-game suspension for a high tackle.
"The young guys, this experience will really help them," he said.
"This is a big game and you could feel the difference between [Sunday] night and the previous week so all the young boys, even some of the old guys, will take something out of it."
Tapine was heartbroken after the game, with the fact they'd come so close to winning the premiership making it even harder to take.
Especially seeing how emotional all his teammates and their families were after the game.
While the grand-final loss would help his young teammates, he didn't expect being part of the Kiwis squad to help ease the pain.
"No mate. None at all. It's just something you build on all year and you talk about in pre-season," Tapine said.
"It just hurts, it hurts more when you go even further in the comp."
He felt they'd proved the doubters wrong, with the Roosters widely tipped to run away with the decider.
But they were in the game right until the end, with a couple of unlucky breaks deciding the match.
That had Tapine confident it was only the beginning for the Green Machine as they look to make deep finals campaigns a habit.
"I think we did [prove people wrong]. I thought we should've won at some points, but rugby league's cruel sometimes and stuff happens," he said.
"We've got a quality side and we'll be better next year. A lot of people said we weren't going to do any good.
"We had our own bubble and we believed in each other. We should be proud of each other and what we did. It's only the start."
One of those unlucky breaks was the now infamous "six again" saga, where the referee changed his call from six again to last tackle.
Tapine said they all thought they were going to get another set of six, which was why Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton had taken the ball towards the middle of the field rather than kick.
"The boys thought it was six again and we heard that, so [Wighton] tried to play on and get to the middle of the field and set up shape," he said.
"It was last tackle apparently so it was pretty shattering."
Meanwhile, Raiders hooker Siliva Havili and departing half Ata Hingano were named in the Tonga Invitational XIII squad on Thursday.
Tonga will play the Great Britain Lions in Hamilton on October 26, before taking on Australia at Eden Park a week later.