Like their season as a whole, the New Zealand Warriors were brilliant in patches, threatened better things but were ultimately the masters of their own demise as they exited the NRL for 2018.
Lauded for producing their best season since 2011's grand final effort, the Warriors would be justifiably disappointed with last night's rudderless elimination final display against the Panthers at ANZ Stadium.
"There was a 15-minute period there during that first half where we gave momentum back to them," lamented Warriors coach Stephen Kearney of a three-try Panthers blitz.
"We didn't execute well enough and (committed) basic errors ... that's the lesson for this group."
Early tries to hooker Issac Luke and winger David Fusitu'a - his 23rd in 23 games - had many in the stadium and across the Tasman daring to dream as the visitors skipped to a 12-2 lead.
But the cruellest of injury blows to inspirational captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and an inability to contend with the game-managing genius of Panthers skipper James Maloney conspired to thwart the Warriors.
Their panicked, muddled decision-making with the game still in the balance was a key contributor to their downfall as Penrith turned the screws.
With Tuivasa-Sheck - who succumbed to a suspected medial ligament injury in a heavy two-man tackle - a non-factor after 27 minutes, the Warriors were always facing an uphill battle from that point on, with Kearney acknowledging a shift in the mood of his charges.
"There was a bit of a sense when Roger did come off, there was a bit of a lull in our energy," he said.
Warriors backrower Tohu Harris paid tribute to retiring club great Simon Mannering, who last week became the first player at the club to reach the 300-game milestone.
"We didn't want his career to end (tonight). He's someone you want out on the field next to you," Harris said.
"He's left a huge mark on this club and hopefully we can continue on from where he left it off."