PORT Macquarie had their chances, but ultimately didn't benefit from the bounce of the ball in a heartbreaking 5-4 NSW State Cup defeat to Eastern Suburbs on Sunday.
In the mixed open grand final, the Makos and Roosters exchanged tries before the visitors put their noses in front with just 30 seconds remaining in the match.
They were then able to withstand a late Port Macquarie rally as the Makos were unable to overcome the loss of key player Jack Lewis to a serious neck injury.
But they were gallant in defeat.
While disappointed to come up short, captain Beau Montgomery admitted his side exceeded expectations.
"At the end of the day we were well past what we wanted to achieve as a goal so we're just stoked to be a part of it and be there in the last 30 seconds," he said.
"The injuries we've gone through and the sickness and all the rest of it ... to be dismantled and still put up a fight shows what kind of heart we have."
Montgomery said former National Rugby League star Scott Prince was a pivotal player in the outcome of the match.
He had a hand in a number of the Roosters tries.
"He can flick a 40-metre pass either way without looking and you can't defend against those kind of things," Montgomery said.
"You can try your best and put as much pressure on them, but at the end of the day they're a well-developed team.
"They have been here and done it seven or eight times in a row so to have them on the edge of their seats is pretty awesome."
Lewis suffered his injury in the Makos 4-3 semi-final victory over Wallsend and Montgomery said Port Macquarie would have benefited from his knowledge in the grand final.
But it wasn't to be.
"Jack lives down in Sydney and actually plays with those guys so he would have been an amazing asset to have," the captain said.
Montgomery said his side had the perfect three-day tournament where every player contributed.
"I think all the girls played amazing," he said.
"A few of them are playing out of position and not somewhere they're usually comfortable with so, but they stepped up.
"Our wingers did an amazing job because a lot of touchdowns are scored down the wings in touch football in mixed competition and that's where the girls usually play."
The Makos captain said their grand final defeat "almost feels like we won" and they would be spurred on to go one step further next year.
"We were well past our goal and we're starting to get some traction (in the mixed competition)," he said.
"I think we've put mixed touch football in Port Macquarie on the map in Australia, not just NSW; there are a lot of teams out there watching us."