For Aaron McInnes it ended on a high back where it all began 30 years ago.
The Queanbeyan Blues prop retired following the 13-6 victory over the Queanbeyan Kangaroos in the Canberra Raiders Cup grand final at Seiffert Oval on Sunday.
On the ground after the siren it was a tale of two retirees - McInnes surrounded by his family going out on top, while Roos coach Aaron Gorrell was surrounded by family helping to lift his spirits after a gut-wrenching loss.
It was McInnes's last game at the club where he started as a six-year-old before going on to win senior premierships in rugby union and then returning to league to add another three to his CV.
"It was a good way to finish the career off after 17 years of first grade in league and union in Canberra," he said.
"I'm a Blues junior, I started here at the club in 1987 as a six-year-old and played all my junior career at the Blues and then in 2001 I decided to swap over to union ... and had a good career over there for 12 or 13 years before coming back to league."
While it was a low-scoring affair, it was thoroughly entertaining, not to mention brutal, with the Queanbeyan derby ensuring both teams threw everything at each other. Blues coach Terry Campese's kicking game was brilliant in the first half, helping to open the scoring when halfback Adam Misios ran on to a perfectly weighted grubber.
But scores were level just five minutes later when Brent Crisp put a monster bomb on the breeze that Blues winger Brendon Taueki couldn't handle.
Roos centre Tolokana Aroha-Tuinauvai, who was dangerous all game, swooped on the loose ball to make it 6-all at half-time.
The Kangaroos had plenty of opportunities, but couldn't convert, with the Blues' line defence proving the difference in the end.
They also lost hooker Gorrell early in the second half to a calf strain, robbing them of valuable leadership in his final game.
"I've enjoyed every minute of it, it would've been nice to get the points today, but that's footy, that's sport, you just have to be at your best every day," Gorrell said.
Campese kicked a field goal to break the deadlock with 24 minutes remaining and then fellow former Canberra Raider Kyle O'Donnell reached out to score what would prove to be the winning try.
Blues forward Ilaisa Ngata provided plenty of energy off the bench, while Roos prop Joshua Ayers was tireless in the battle of the packs. Roos winger Jedi Simbiken was stretchered off with a knee injury with less than four minutes remaining, as they desperately tried to break the Blues wall.
Man-of-the-match Campese finished with a nasty cut to his lip as well as a possible torn bicep. "I couldn't be happier the way the boys dug deep and defended, it was just great to be part of," he said.