The season of the St George Illawarra Dragons went to the Dogs _ literally.
After starting as a season with such promise, dominating their competition and sitting on top of the ladder, the Dragons crashed out of contention for the NRL finals by losing to the Bulldogs in the last round.
It was a catastrophic fall from grace.
A collapse of staggering proportions.
After seven rounds of the NRL season this year, the Dragons looked like being the team to beat.
Putting aside criticism of the past year’s inability to put the score on the board, the Dragons were a try-scoring machine and sat on top of the ladder.
What happened from then until Sunday could hardly be believed.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor was left struggling to put it into words on Sunday evening.
“We’re all feeling absolutely gutted in the sheds. We’re more than disappointed, we’re actually shattered not to play finals footy,” McGregor said.
“I thought we found energy at times during the game but we looked a bit flat. There’s no excuses.”
Definitely no excuses.
The players after the match were clearly devastated.
Josh Dugan, who has now played his last game for the club, was in tears capping off a horror two weeks where he was disciplined for missing the team bus the week before.
Not the parting note anyone would wish for.
So instead of preparing for finals, the Dragons were busily drowning their sorrows at Mad Monday and preparing for yet another long pre-season.
The wags on social media were suggesting the Bulldogs did the Dragons a favour by ending the misery now rather than later.
Maybe there is some truth in that?
If fans are going to be disappointed by a lack of heart, guts and determination then they may as well be disappointed in the regular season, right?
Disappointingly the weekend’s loss allows old wounds to be re-opened.
Questions which were thought put to bed when coach McGregor’s contract was extended mid-season will again raise their heads.
If the Queen had her annus horribilis (latin for horrible year) then 2017 will surely be remembered as the year the Dragons had a failure of royal proportions.