Conrad Smith spent 12 seasons trying to will the Hurricanes to a Super Rugby title.
Tonight's decider against the Highlanders shaped as the perfect opportunity for him to break his - and a franchise's - drought.
But his side went down 21-14 in the capital and Smith, 33, will leave for France after the World Cup with something missing on his impressive rugby resume.
Smith, a qualified lawyer and one of the game's most intelligent men, sat back and tried to find a way to sum it up.
"It's all pretty raw at the moment," he said. "I'm gutted for management, the players, the club because we deserved better than this.
"But at times like this I always try and keep perspective on things and I know I'll be trying to get the guys to lift their heads because there's a lot to be proud of and it's a game of footy, we lost; that's all it is."
Smith led the Hurricanes to a 14-2 regular season as they topped the Super Rugby standings and earned home advantage for the playoffs.
The foundations were laid to keep the Hurricanes as a contender in a rough competition for years to come and when Smith is long gone from the playing ranks, this final won't keep him awake at night.
"If this is my biggest disappointment in life then I think I'll be pretty happy when I'm an old man," he said.
"I don't think I'll be one to look back on games of rugby and get too hung up on them."
The game itself was there for the Hurricanes but they weren't good enough to take it as their error rate grew.
The Highlanders came in to the contest having gone through a pair of tough knockout matches against the Chiefs and the Waratahs, something which the Hurricanes thought would count against the southern men.
"We wanted to play at tempo because we thought their legs would go after the back end of their season," Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said.
"But we just couldn't quite hang on to the ball for enough phases to get us to the edge and start playing our game. So it was a frustrating day because we'd just get going then cough the ball up."
Hulking wing Julian Savea could have grabbed a crucial late try for the Hurricanes but he couldn't hold a loose pass and an opportunity was lost.
That might be another moment that Smith will ponder over a glass of red wine when he is in the south of France but it would appear that it won't be something he dwells on.