"My face kind of says it all right now. The one that got away. Again.”
Dejected Queensland captain Kiri Lingman didn’t try to put on a brave face after losing another Super W Grand Final to NSW.
They didn’t need extra time to get it done this year but as it was last year, again the teams were only separated by a measly three points.
Just a lazy field goal or penalty kick. Three points.
The tantalising proximity of victory in a Grand Final makes defeat far, far more painful and just like the difference between a celebrating NSW huddle post-match and a shattered Queensland one, it was so close yet so far for the women in maroon.
Queensland have never beaten NSW in the Super W but for most of the first half they looked like they would give it a serious shake on the fourth attempt.
Led by the likes of Lingman, Mille Boyle and Alisha Hewett, the visitors’ defence was utterly brilliant against the never-ending waves of Waratahs forward runners.
They took their chance to score and went into the sheds with heads high, leading 5-3.
Then they re-emerged and NSW went to work, ruthlessly shutting the door on everything Queensland tried to do to escape their territory.
The big Waratahs forwards rolled forward, and when Queensland were given the chance to take possession, they’d turn it over with an error or a set-piece blue.
Elysia Lefau-Fakaosilea looked like a bulldozer when she had the ball but she simply didn’t get enough of it.
"Credit to NSW. I don’t know what happened in that change room at halftime but they came out and absolutely gave it to us. I don’t think we were quite prepared in that second half and it’s obviously shown in the final result,” Lingman said.
"If there is one positive it is that defence we had on the line. I guess they threw absolutely everything at us and it just seemed to one try that snuck through, compared to how much time they spent there. Credit to our girls for stepping up and pounding them back each time.”
They’re painfully earned but Lingman says the lessons of yet another heartbreaking defeat will be stored away and used next year.
They can’t not be.
"There was a bit of Grand Final jitters, the crowd comes into it, the conditions,” Lingman said.
"For some of our newer girls it’ll be huge learning curve, like myself from the game last year. At the end of the day I guess we will be better for us as a state next year."
"Keeping our squad together, we had an amazing bunch of girls this year, really positive and hard working girls. If anything it is just more fire in the belly and NSW are a classy outfit and bloody hungry. It’s up to go away and work harder and come back stronger."