Even as gutted Brisbane spectators began leaving Suncorp Stadium late in the A-League grand final on Sunday, Roar coach Ange Postecoglou still braced himself for one final twist.
However, few would have predicted what happened next.
Down 2-0, Brisbane remarkably scored two goals in the final four minutes of extra-time to force a penalty shootout - then claimed it 4-2 to bring a 50,168-strong crowd to its feet.
To come into an A-League grand final with a record 27-game unbeaten record was something special.
But to pull off a stunning comeback in extra-time and claim a maiden title was “extraordinary“, according to Postecoglou.
“We looked down and out,” he said.
“But I was sitting there filing through the amount of times that we have found something this year.
“And I thought it just wouldn’t surprise me if this group of players found what they needed.
“We have had an absolutely extraordinary season - I should have expected an extraordinary finish.”
Brisbane looked set to taste defeat for only the second time in 33 games this season when Adam Kwasnik (96th minute) and Oliver Bozanic (103rd) found the back of the net in extra-time.
So convinced were some punters that they began filing out with 15 minutes of extra-time still remaining.
They will forever rue what they missed.
Bench X-factor Henrique scored in the 117th minute in an effort that appeared too little, too late.
Yet the Roar earned a last-gasp corner and, as the Brisbane faithful held their breath, Thomas Broich’s cross found the tallest man on the field - Erik Paartalu - who headed in a dramatic equaliser.
To cap the incredible comeback, the Roar’s aim was true from the spot as the Mariners’ Daniel McBreen and Pedj Bojic missed, sparking jubilant scenes not seen since the Brisbane Strikers won the national title at the same venue way back in 1997.
“You could see that a few of the boys had stopped believing, and it (self belief) had been a trademark of our team,” Roar captain Matt McKay said of his side in extra-time.
“I told the boys at the start of the second period of extra-time ’no-one can tell me you can’t score two goals in 15 minutes of football’ - and they believed.”
For all their dominance, only one title interested the Roar at the Suncorp sellout - 2010-11 A-League champions.
And in keeping with their season, they got what they wanted.
“The one question mark about this team leading into this final was that they had not won anything,” Postecoglou said.
“That was fair enough.
“But there is no doubt that this team has been a champion team - they certainly showed champion qualities.”
Underwater a few weeks ago due to the Queensland floods, Suncorp Stadium became a sea of orange on Sunday as the Roar’s fluorescent-clad faithful dominated the fourth-largest crowd in A-League history.
Such a sight looked unlikely when Postecoglou took over mid-season last year from sacked coach Frank Farina as the Roar slid to second-last - their worst finish.
Fast forward to Sunday night and the Roar were talking about A-League dynasties with the extra lure of Asian Champions League next year.
“I want to be up there with the Broncos and the Lions, who have won heaps of premierships and created so called dynasties,” McKay said.
“But this is something we would not have thought of a year ago - it means a great deal.”
Postecoglou added: “Let’s not put limits on ourselves, who knows how far this can go?“
It was an encouraging sign from Postecoglou, who had been linked to the vacant Melbourne Victory job just days outside of the final.
Asked about the Victory, McKay interjected with: “stupid question”.
Postecoglou added: “I will say one thing about the Victory so get your pens ready - it was a magnificent victory today.
“Nothing else (matters right now) - it’s about us.”
The only shining light for the Mariners was teenage keeper Mathew Ryan being awarded the Joe Marston Medal for man of the match after a stunning duel with Roar gloveman Michael Theoklitos.