It's not the way John Bateman wanted it to end, but his parting words to his Canberra Raiders mates - "The sky's the limit".
Bateman's two-year stint with the Green Machine's now over and he'll return to an England in lockdown and to Wigan in the Super League.
It's been quite a ride - a grand final and a preliminary final - but it's safe to say someone who has made a habit of winning premierships back home in England was disappointed.
They went down 30-10 to the Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
But he was confident the Raiders were in a strong position - with plenty of young talent like Corey Horsburgh and Emre Guler in the forwards, and a group of talented outside backs as well.
Plus their victory to knock the reigning premiers Sydney Roosters out of the finals at the SCG last week proved they were one of the top sides in the NRL.
"After [Raiders coach Ricky Stuart] spoke I said to them, 'Boys, what you've done for me it's been the best time of my life these last two years and you're like a family'," Bateman said.
"You've got a squad there. We beat the Roosters last week and that probably shows we're in a good position and there's young lads coming through who are very good kids.
"I said to the boys, 'You've got something special here and the sky's the limit'. They just need to work hard and keep going with it."
Bateman said a few defensive reads proved costly for them in the opening exchanges - where they found themselves 24-0 down after 25 minutes.
But he also felt the ball bounced the Storm's way - "fair credit to them".
He felt they were able to arrest some of the momentum in the second half and create some chances - but they just couldn't get enough of the football.
When Storm lock Dale Finucane crossed to make it 30-6, Bateman knew he had a long final 17 minutes in the NRL.
He remembered looking at the clock and realising even they would struggle to come back from there - having come back from 18-0 down aganst the Storm in Melbourne last year.
"No not at all [how I wanted it to end]. Tough game to be fair. Full credit to them," Bateman said.
"You give any team an 18-point start and good luck with it. Even though we did believe.
"We came in at half-time and spoke about being in that position before.
"We played Melbourne at their place [in 2019] and we've been behind and we could do it.
"But as soon as that try - I remember looking at the clock and it was 17 minutes left - we never give up never, but it's a tough ask. A very tough ask."