The gold medal dream of Canberra's Edwina Bone, coach Katrina Powell and Crookwell's Emily Chalker came to an agonising end on Monday after the Hockeyroos' shock 1-0 quarter-final defeat to India at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Their on-field agony was in stark contrast to the ecstasy of Canberra's Andrew Charter just 24 hours earlier. The goalkeeper produced one of the moments of his career, preventing three straight Dutch penalties in a shootout following a tense 2-2 draw to book the Kookaburras a semi-final showdown against Germany. The Kookas haven't won gold since Athens 2004.
The Hockeyroos were among the gold medal favourites after winning all five of their group matches before their abrupt exit.
The Indian side only scraped into the quarter-finals after finishing fourth in pool A with just two wins.
Following the loss, former Canberra Chill player Edwina Bone broke down in tears when she began to talk about how proud she was of the side.
"It's such a shame to end it this way," Bone said.
"It's really hard for these girls. We've worked really hard over the past ... 18 months," Bone said.
"We started the tournament really well. We were putting together really good performances but it just proves you can finish top of your pool and it all comes down to one match.
"We could have put several in the back of the net and unfortunately it just wasn't our day."
The 33-year-old hinted her second Olympic Games may not be her last one for the Hockeyroos if she has it her way.
"I've got a lot of reflection to do after this tournament. I've got to get back home, I've got to see my partner. We've got to have that chat which I've probably been putting off for a little while, but I haven't made any decisions yet," Bone said.
"Getting this close ... just gives you a little bit of fire in the belly to want to push for another one. But discussions with my husband, I think he might have different thoughts."
The Hockeyroos have not won an Olympic medal since they took gold in 2000. Despite this, Powell was eyeing a podium finish for the national team when she spoke to The Canberra Times before the Games. Unfortunately, she will have to wait until Paris 2024 for their next shot at gold.
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After suffering heartbreak in Rio to finish sixth, the Kookaburras triumphed over the Netherlands in their quarter-final shootout, Charter securing the side its semi-final spot in spectacular fashion. He saved the first Dutch effort, before his pressure forced two Dutch errors on their second and third attempts. The Kookas nailed all three penalties after their near-perfect group stage also threatened to end in the final-eight stage.
"It's really nice. The last few games the boys have done me a favour and not had to give me much work by scoring a few goals, so to come out here and carry the burden for a bit, it's good for my confidence and it's good for the team defensively moving forward," Charter said post-match.
"The pressure was huge but we'd done our research this morning and yesterday. We had a plan and to see it come together in the moment was really good. It just showed if we do our homework we can win this. We've got to come back now and put it together in the semi."
Charter told The Times, after his selection for Tokyo, Rio was a disappointment and the side were seeking retribution in Japan.
The 34-year-old made sure retribution was repaid to the side who kicked them out of Rio, the Netherlands, a country the green and golds have an incredible history with in knockout hockey.
Charter's teammates agreed he was the player of the match, 22-year-old Tim Brand hailing him a "hero".
"Absolutely awesome. He was bloody awesome. Those shootouts, we've been practising them a lot after the World Cup [in 2018]," he said.
"We didn't want to go out on another one so it's good to give the Dutch one back. Charts is a bloody hero."
The Kookaburras take on Germany on Tuesday night at 8pm (AEST) in their semi-final.