Valentine Holmes was left to rue an error in extra time in Cronulla's season-ending 15-14 loss to North Queensland on Sunday afternoon.
Holmes' effort to collect a kick and race 40 metres downfield was undone by a loose carry on impact, with the ball spilling free with the help of a hand from Lachlan Coote.
North Queensland capitalised on the error with more than a minute remaining in the extra time period to land a 17-metre field goal through Michael Morgan.
It was a mixed afternoon for Holmes with the usually reliable No.1 coming up with several uncharacteristic errors – including a first-half spill with no one around him and a forward pass that was ruled accordingly.
"I made a few errors in the game and that [extra time error] was probably the main one," Holmes said after the game.
"I wanted to try and spark something but it wasn't to be. They kicked a field goal after that.
"It was tough and fast, what we all expected but not the way we wanted it to go."
Holmes was reluctant to echo coach Shane Flanagan's criticism of several referee decisions that went against the Shire outfit.
The 22-year-old instead chose to blame the loss on the team.
"We shouldn't have put ourselves in that situation of 50-50 calls [being crucial to the result]," he said.
"We had a few errors and are the ones to blame.
"He (Flanagan) was obviously disappointed with some of the decisions and wanted us to keep our heads high and have a break then worry about next year."
Reflecting on the season, Holmes said 2017 was a stepping-stone for the team's young players heading into next year – including himself – after winning the NRL Telstra premiership last season on the wing.
"It was a learning curve for some of us, it was my first time playing fullback in the NRL and young [Jayden] Brailey come in and play most of the year after having big shoes to fill in Mick Ennis," he said.
"We didn't have the exact same team but thought we could go a bit further than what we did."
The result marked the final time departing Sharks pair Jack Bird (Broncos) and Gerard Beale (Warriors) would play for the club, while Ricky Leutele is expected to join the Gold Coast.
Sharks veteran Chris Heighington's future remains up in the air, while speculation James Maloney could end up at a rival club over the off-season fails to go away.