Trent Robinson has brutally blamed himself for mismanaging a push for an NRL three-peat as the Sydney Roosters ran out of puff in their third straight loss on Friday night.
A 22-18 defeat to Canberra at the SCG ended their season after conceding 89 points in the fortnight before.
Uncharacteristic defensive errors cost the Roosters as they were ambushed by a side that simply wanted it more.
"I just couldn't get everybody aligned," Robinson said on Friday night.
"As a coach you go... I just didn't get it done.
"I just didn't get the players aligned enough to play their best footy and it's really disappointing.
"Your season ends. You dream and you dream big, and it's not there."
It is the first time since 2017 they haven't been the last team standing - a year that kick-started their incredible run over the past two-and-a-half seasons.
Since they began pre-season that November, Robinson's men have been the most dominant team in the competition.
That energy is inconceivable to maintain for three years.
After they beat Melbourne 21-6 in the 2018 grand final, many believed it was impossible to defend the title in 2019.
Feeding off the doubt, the Roosters had the mental resilience and physical ability to do what had not been achieved since 1992-93, beating the Raiders 14-8 in last year's decider.
And while Robinson and his players have avoided the term 'three-peat' this season, there is no doubt another premiership was front of their motivation.
They started the season with two losses, but after the COVID-19 break they rivalled Penrith as the most in-form team in the competition despite a hefty injury toll.
Two straight losses to South Sydney and Penrith in the qualifier made for a rocky lead in to Friday night's semi-final.
Warning bells sounded with a 60-8 loss to the Rabbitohs in the final round of the regular season.
After the loss, experts questioned how much was left in the tank to chase a third title, and while they went down fighting on Friday night, the answer was: not enough.
In the most difficult NRL season to date, Robinson described coaching as "spinning plates" while trying to align every player on the same path to success.
Asked if he would do anything different, he said: "1000 things.
"I should have been better. So I'll go back and reflect on how to do that better and get the lessons from it.
"You don't look back and say, 'oh, I did really well'... that's not the case.
"This isn't really well. So yeah, I need to go back and look at it.
"We did a lot of things right but not enough. There's lots of lessons to look back on at a later date."