Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell was perhaps the most disappointed spectator at ANZ Stadium on Friday night as he watched his side fall one game short of the AFL grand final.
Serving the second week of his two-game suspension, Maxwell was powerless as the Magpies slumped to a 26-point loss to Sydney.
It was a bitter pill for the key defender to swallow after injury ruined his 2011 campaign, including a broken knuckle in the grand final loss to Geelong.
"It's extremely disappointing. Obviously I don't know how much impact I would have had," Maxwell said.
"But I'm never going to know and I've got to live with that.
"I'm just devastated that I couldn't have some form of impact over the last two weeks."
The 29-year-old said the feeling was similar to the inconsolable emptiness he had to endure as former Cats captain Cameron Ling held the premiership cup aloft last September.
"It's probably similar in a way to last year when I couldn't get my body right.
"I was trying and I was fighting, but I couldn't actually have the impact I wanted to have.
"This time I had no impact. It's probably similar in a way, but I can't say much more about it."
Maxwell said he was proud of his teammates, as they ponder how to fill time during grand final week for the first time since 2009.
"It's tough. You play football to play in grand finals and win premierships, obviously we failed but we can't take any credit away from Sydney.
"They out-played us across the board.
"It's bitterly disappointing to sit back and watch.
"It's not going to be a fun week, it's going to be tough watching."