Sydney Roosters’ superstars Sonny Bill Williams and Anthony Minichiello have bowed out of rugby league with a loss.
Sonny Bill Williams’ rugby league career would appear over.
Three-hundred-game legend Anthony Minichiello won’t play again.
And the Sydney Roosters have become the latest side to fall short of the NRL’s most difficult achievement – winning back-to-back grand finals.
After winning a second straight minor premiership, the fairy-tales were meant to roll out on cue for the all-star Roosters.
But unlike last year, this finals series hasn’t gone to plan for the tri-colours.
Most, including Williams thought his time in the NRL was over when he unceremoniously walked out on the Canterbury Bulldogs back in 2008 to play rugby union.
But his two years in rugby league have added to a brilliant legacy, which boasts premierships, a Super Rugby title and a World Cup win with the All Blacks.
Next year though, Williams returns to New Zealand rugby and at 29 years of age, it seems unlikely he will return to the 13-man code.
Williams would have been hoping to leave with a perfect record of two crowns from two years at the Roosters – but on Friday night in a 32-22 preliminary final loss to South Sydney – the dual international was helpless.
As the game was slipping from the Roosters’ grasp, Williams was penalised for passing the ball off the ground.
It’s a move that’s legal in rugby, but Sonny wasn’t meant to be there just yet.
Club legend Minichiello leaves without the premiership farewell he craved – but at least he gave fans something to remember him by.
After making two uncharacteristically embarrassing errors last week in the semi-final win over North Queensland, Minichiello proved he was all class against the Rabbitohs in his 302nd game – scoring a brilliant double.
For the first he flew high above Greg Inglis to put the Roosters up 12-0, the second was a consolation try at the death.
But now it’s all over for the Roosters and two of their all-time greats.
In week one they were upset by Jamie Soward and the giant-killing Penrith Panthers.
Then against the Cowboys they gave up a 30-0 lead and were desperately lucky to escape with a one-point victory.
Against Souths in the preliminary final, the Roosters powered to a 12-0 lead, but the ruthless consistency that defined their 2013 premiership once again eluded them, as Souths’ broke a 43-year drought to win 32-22.
The Brisbane Broncos of 1992-93 remain the last team in a united rugby league competition to win back-to-back premierships.