"Watch this space".
It's the resounding sentiment from ACT Brumbies captain Michaela Leonard after her side bowed out of Super W contention against a rampant NSW Waratahs outfit chasing four straight titles.
The Brumbies have fallen one game short of the decider following a 24-3 loss to the Waratahs at Coffs Harbour International Stadium on Wednesday.
Dan Hawke's side will now set their sights on a third-place playoff with the President's XV on Saturday, while the Waratahs battle the Queensland Reds for the Super W crown.
"Tough loss. Frustrated is probably not the word I would use," Leonard said on Stan.
"I'm proud of our girls, I think we came out with 80 minutes. Credit to the forward pack for working that hard for that long, I think it showed.
"I think we won that [second] half in the forwards and I'm really proud of our girls for working that whole game.
"Frustrations, yes, but it's a process. We've got a young group, we've got a new squad, it's changing every year. We started to see it build this year and it's only going to get better.
"That was really exciting, to show what we could do against a team that has played together for years."
The Brumbies entered the clash needing a victory by 15 points to leapfrog the Reds into first place in pool A.
The Reds had opened the afternoon with a 54-5 demolition of the President's XV to edge closer to another grand final appearance.
The Waratahs simply had to win to top their pool and go within reach of a fourth consecutive Super W title.
The Brumbies' hopes were dealt an early blow when Waratahs fullback Bella McKenzie opened the scoring in the fourth minute, and midway through the half she doubled the dose.
An Ella Ryan penalty is all the Brumbies posted, with Maya Stewart's try on the stroke of half-time leaving the underdogs trailing 19-3 and in need of a miracle.
Ryan battled to finish the opening half with a leg injury and the miracle would never come, but the Brumbies' scrum showed glimpses of promise.
"You look at the light blue forward pack, the Waratahs forward pack, and there's a lot of names people know," Leonard said.
"We showed it doesn't necessarily take a name to win it. We showed that in lineout, we showed that in scrum. We didn't take a backward step, walking off with heads held high."
AT A GLANCE
Super W round three: NSW WARATAHS 24 (Bella McKenzie 2, Maya Stewart 2 tries; McKenzie 2 conversions) bt ACT BRUMBIES 3 (Ella Ryan penalty) at Coffs Harbour International Stadium.
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