Mike Hussey appears to have played his last innings for Western Australia, after they were unable to complete a fairytale entry into the Sheffield Shield final.
Needing 273 to beat Queensland to qualify for their first final in 14 years, WA were dismissed for 152 at the WACA Ground yesterday, losing by 120 runs.
Queensland will defend their title against Tasmania at Bellerive Oval later this week.
In a clear indication of the evenness of the competition, WA finished fifth after entering the final session of the season in a strong position to host the final.
Paceman Ryan Harris (2-48) had other thoughts. A likely member of the Ashes pace attack later this year, Harris had Hussey superbly caught by wicket-keeper Chris Hartley at 37 to expose the WA tail.
Harris and veteran all-rounder James Hopes (4-42) bowled unchanged throughout the first hour of the last session to ensure WA could not repeat their lower-order heroics of their past three matches.
Harris claimed six wickets in the first innings and his blazing 54 not out, including a straight six that broke a sightscreen, enabled the Bulls to declare at 9-336.
No player in world cricket is better equipped to anchor a run chase but Hussey's departure at 7-134 sucked the air from WA's sails.
The Queensland fieldsmen clapped the left-hander from the WACA Ground in a sign that he had made his final appearance after a glittering 20-year career.
Michael Hogan was promoted to No.9 in his final appearance for the Warriors, but could not reproduce his match-winning batting form of the past month.
Hussey said he had not decided whether to play on.
"It's all pretty raw at the moment," he said.
"I will go away and relax and take some time to mull it over."
Hussey will have only a few weeks to consider his future because the State contract process starts at the end of this month.
Hussey has played 273 first-class matches for 22,783 runs at 52.13. He will be ranked alongside WA coach Justin Langer and former Test stars Kim Hughes and Damien Martyn as the best batsmen produced in Western Australia.
He was confident that WA had a bright future, with youngsters Sam Whiteman and Ashton Agar starring during the second half of the summer while pacemen Burt Cockley and Ryan Duffield reignited their careers late in the season.
Warriors captain Adam Voges regretted the poor performance on the final day that saw Queensland build a substantial lead then slice through WA's brittle top order.
"We were outplayed today in every way," Voges said.
"We played really well for two days to get ourselves into a good position and when we got (Joe) Burns early today we were probably controlling the game."Two partnerships wrestled that momentum away from us."