Having lost an untold amount of his blood and sweat in the Brookvale Oval soil over the years, Geoff Toovey deserved better than this.
Instead, he walked out the Manly home ground gates for the final time late on Friday night balling his fist and rueing what could have been.
It was all set up for the departing Sea Eagles coach – appearing for the final time at what has become a second home over the last three decades, his side needed two points to stay alive.
Instead the ruthless Sydney Roosters rolled through them in a 46-10 rout.
Since making his first grade debut at the ground in May 1988, Toovey has been universally loved at Brookvale.
While small in stature, as a player he was tough, uncompromising and never took a backwards step.
He endeared himself to the Manly faithful and delivered them a premiership as captain in 1996.
As coach, he guided them to the finals three years in a row including one grand final, but that was not enough to save him after the club board axed him for their slow start to the year.
“It was going to be (emotional) but I’m more disappointed and angry now,” Toovey said.
“I wish I pulled my boots on again and could go back 30 years and start again.
“I’d like to do that but unfortunately I can’t.”
Captain Jamie Lyon said he and his teammates were disappointed they couldn’t deliver for him when it mattered most.
“It’s definitely a sad way to go out,” Lyon said.
“(Toovey) deserves better than that and we just didn’t dish up the footy that he deserves.
“We’re pretty disappointed to say the least.”