The sight of Tamworth captain James Bracken crouched on the ground head in his hand said it all after the Magpies' New England premiership hopes were slayed by a rampant Harbour Knights in Saturday's preliminary final.
Up 17-5 at half-time and turning with the wind behind them in the second half the Magpies looked to be setting themselves up for a shot at the silverware, but the Knights blew them away to charge into the decider 29-22.
In a 20-minute blitz they turned a 12 point deficit into a 12 point lead, and a season of so much promise again ended in heartbreak for the Magpies.
The second year in a row they have finished second but failed to make the grand final, the disappointment of what could have been was etched across the players' faces after the final whistle.
But as coach Peter Burke told them after calling them into a huddle, he was very proud of their effort.
Sure there was disappointment, especially after the position they had put themselves in, but he could only take his hat off to the Knights.
"I'm very proud of the team and what they put out there today. We were just beaten by a better team," he said.
Suspension and injury had decimated their backline and Burke didn't deny that did have a big impact .Prop Tim Vervaat was also a late withdrawal on the morning off the match.
"We had those guys all year and then not to have them for that critical game told in the second half," he said.
In the first half too that continuity and sharpness in the backline wasn't quite there with the different combinations.
It meant they weren't able to capitalise on their territory and possession as much as they would have liked. Still Burke was pretty happy going into the break, Bracken bustling his way over in the shades of half-time to push them beyond a try.
"I thought if we lifted our effort going into the second half and we could play a bit of field position I thought we were a big chance of winning the match, but to Coffs' credit they just kept the ball in hand and they were very very good with it," he said.
"We just didn't have any possession for a long long time."
They would have barely been in their half in the first 20 minutes.
Coupled with that they lost their shape in defence. So good in the first half really meeting the Knights at the line and shutting them down, they "for some reason" started tackling too high.
That allowed the Knights' offloading game to really to come to the fore.
They "didn't play the wind very well" either.
The cracks started to appear early in the second half with the Knights scoring six minutes in. Co-coach AJ Gilbert then darted over from the ruck to, with the conversion, lock up the scores with just under half an hour to play.
As the momentum swung to the Knights, some miss-timing resulted in a loose ball and the Coffs side pounced to hit the front. When breakaway Peter Uikelotu then bulldozed his way to the line, in the blink of an eye they had skipped out to a 29-17 lead.
The Magpies still had time but were just stifled by the Knights, and as their desperation became more the errors flowed.
They will though have two sides involved in the grand final action with their second grade beating Walcha 36-22 to join third grade in the big dance.
Glen Innes meanwhile outgunned Armidale in the women's 7s while the Knights accounted for Armidale 19-5 in third grade.