What a ride. But how does the Green Machine go on an even better one?
That's what Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart will already be turning his mind to as he packs down with Eddie Jones in the England camp at the Rugby World Cup.
It doesn't have to be much - they went within six points and seven minutes of winning a grand final.
They overhauled their defence to great effect for the 2019 campaign, charging into a grand final where - but for the bounce of the referee - they were in it up to their necks.
Mission 2020 is take that next step and end the Raiders' 25-year premiership drought.
But history could be against them with losing grand finalists struggling to back up the following season. Especially after a heartbreaking loss.
Although that depends on how you look at it. From a statistical point of view you could argue it actually improves their chances of getting there agan.
But first things first. How do the Raiders get better?
They'd have hunger in truckloads - the pain of the grand final loss will burn away at them all pre-season.
If they can add a little bit of strike to the defensive foundations they've already laid it could make the difference.
They tightened up their defence, cutting their points conceded per game from 22.5 last year to 15.1 in 2019.
It came at a slight cost attackwise with their points scored dropping from 23.5 to 20.7.
If they can add an extra try to their 2019 mark - while keeping their defence just as miserly - they'll have similar numbers to the premiers, the Sydney Roosters.
That responsibility lies with the halves.
Half a chance
It's all a bit up in the air at the moment when it comes to the Raiders playmakers.
Jack Wighton has a mortgage on the No.6 jersey, but there's a bit of uncertainty surrounding who will partner him in the halves.
England halfback George Williams is on his way Down Under, coming to Sydney town as part of England's World Cup 9s squad next week.
It will give the Raiders fans a chance to see first hand what he'll bring to the Green Machine.
Could his arrival provide that attacking spark?
He was equal fourth for try assists and sixth for offloads in the English Super League, where he's been playing at five-eighth for Wigan.
But given Aidan Sezer just guided the Raiders to an NRL decider he's going to have to earn his spot.
Sezer took his game management to another level in 2019, helping guide a more resilient Green Machine around the park.
Maybe that extra spark comes from Sezer taking yet another step.
But it's unclear whether he'll still be in Canberra next year.
He's contracted until the end of 2020, but it's rugby league.
The Raiders won't stand in his way if he finds an opportunity elsewhere and he's already been linked to a three-year deal with Huddersfield.
Plus the Brisbane Broncos are desperate for a halfback.
But maybe they'll end up pushing each other on the training paddock next season, with the best man claiming the No.7 as their prize.
The Wighton stuff
Regardless of who he partners in the halves, there's one thing that's certain - Wighton will get even better.
He was a massive hit switching from fullback to five-eighth this year.
So much so he made his State of Origin debut to be part of the NSW Blues' victorious side.
Then he added a Clive Churchill Medal to his poolroom, becoming just the fourth member of a losing side to do so.
Now he's on the verge of becoming an Australian international when the Kangaroos take on New Zealand and Tonga in end-of-season Tests.
With another pre-season under his belt, he'll be even more at home in the No.6 jersey and even more dangerous.
Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker credited Wighton's full-time presence on the left edge as one of the reasons why they'd overtaken the potent "Leipana"-infused right for scoring power.
Wighton's booming left boot has also become a kicking weapon and that will also improve with practice.
It's tough backing up
You've got to lose one to win one. So the saying goes.
It points to not only the drive derived from the pain of losing, but also the experience gained from being on the big stage.
The Raiders went into the grand final with Joey Leilua the only player who'd played in an NRL decider before.
That's now ballooned to 17 players with that experience.
A lot of the 1989 Raiders crew attribute the loss in the '87 grand final as playing a role in them getting across the line two years later.
But how hard is it to backup the year after making a grand final? Especially a tough loss to take like the Raiders had?
Balmain finished fifth in 1990 after their extra-time loss to the Green Machine.
Manly lost on the buzzer in 1997 and then finished 10th in the freshly formed NRL a year later.
What it's certainly done is shown a new generation of fans how good it is to be part of this end of the season.Ricky Stuart
St George Illawarra went down to a late penalty try in '99 and missed the finals completely the following season.
Brisbane finished fifth in 2016 after their extra-time loss the previous year.
Since the NRL was formed in '98, only nine teams have made back-to-back grand finals.
Of those, there were only five losing teams that managed to get back - the Roosters in '03, the Storm in '07, '09 and '17, and the Sea Eagles in '08.
That's a 23 per cent strike rate - or close to one in four.
Four of those teams went on to win it, turning the lose-one-to-win-one into fact.
But given it's a 16-team competition - or theoretically a one in 16 chance - that means losing grand finalists are actually four times more likely of getting back to the grand final.
That's actually pretty good odds.
Keep the bandwagon rolling
How good is Canberra! Those latte sippers up the Hume don't know what it means to support a football team.
Canberra turned greener and greener the further the Raiders went into the finals to the point where all that was missing was a green tram (next year Chief Minister Barr).
Hopefully that support carries on into the 2020 campaign to help get the Green Machine off to a flying start.
A mate in the office is calling for the Raiders' first game to be against the Roosters. At Canberra Stadium. With Ben Cummins in charge.
Strap me down and hang on! The tickets are selling themselves.
Stuart was thankful for every green sausage and every piece of bread.
He hoped they'd given the community something in return and reiterated the Raiders players were ready to go.
"They're all very disappointed, but it generates a lot more motivation to want to go again. That won't be an issue," Stuart said.
"What it's certainly done is shown a new generation of fans how good it is to be part of this end of the season.
"Twenty-five years since we'd been in a grand final. A lot of our young fans hadn't witnessed this level of football.
"It's given everybody a wonderful boost. I can't thank the community and the region enough in regards to the support we got."
Papa's young bucks
How good is Josh Papalii? Simply the best.
If he can reproduce his 2019 form again then the Raiders will be a long way towards a grand final return.
Not only does he do all the tough stuff in the middle, but the flair he's brought with him from his former life on the edge makes him a danger near the tryline.
Plus he's got an emerging pack of young bucks around him who will be hungry for more.
Corey Horsburgh and Emre Guler were both excellent in the grand final.
The prospect of another pre-season under their belts is one to relish.
You could tell from talking to Horsburgh after the grand final how much it hurt and how desperate he was to get back there.
An angrier Big Red than normal could be coming to a field near you.
Ryan Sutton will be hurting having missed out on the grand final.
Same with Hudson Young, who has a long-term suspension to atone for as well.
It'll have the older bucks looking over their powerful shoulders to ensure they stay ahead.
Right on the edge
The Raiders' fabled right edge Leipana duo of Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana might have played their last games together in green.
While it sounds like Leilua will be a Raider in 2020 - he's been given permission to look for a long-term deal elsewhere - Rapana looks set for a switch to Japanese rugby union.
It's believed that's why he's pulled out of the New Zealand World Cup 9s squad, as well as the Kiwis Test squad - to get ready for the move.
The Raiders have a ready-made replacement in Bailey Simonsson, who could either come onto the left or right wing - with Nick Cotric also able to play either side.
Cotric could also be an option at right centre if Leilua does leave, while Sebastian Kris has shown he's not out of place in the NRL.
The Raiders also have high hopes youngsters Harley Smith-Shields and Semi Valemei can take a step up from the under-20s to the senior squad next year - just as Cotric and Kris have done before them.