ANNA Flanagan knows the road ahead will be filled with "what ifs" but she says the Canberra Chill, featuring Mollymook's Kalindi Commerford, can hold their heads high as trailblazers in hockey's new era.
Canberra's Hockey One campaign came to a heartbreaking end in a 1-nil semi-final shootout defeat against HC Melbourne at Victoria's State Hockey Centre on Sunday.
Melbourne have booked their ticket to the inaugural Hockey One grand final with the Brisbane Blaze awaiting them.
For now Canberra are left to lick their wounds - although Flanagan believes they should hold their heads high after reaching this stage in a landmark year for Australian hockey.
"It was really disappointing because we got so close but we just couldn't get over the line," Flanagan said.
"The whole concept was awesome. Being able to go home and getting hockey to every state in Australia, it just exposed hockey to so many more places.
"For a first hit-out it was really successful, so I can't wait to see what happens next year."
The two sides couldn't be split after four quarters which sent the game into a shootout where the Chill would ultimately fall at the hands of Australian goalkeeper Rachael Lynch.
Canberra missed their opening three shots and it seemed as though Melbourne would do the same when Madi Ratcliffe was denied.
But she was gifted a second chance after an infringement and she made the most of it to put the minor premiers in front.
Naomi Evans and Brooke Peris couldn't square the ledger in reply, leaving Canberra to rue what might have been.
"As a team we left everything out on the pitch," Chill coach Ian Rutledge said.
"Both teams were very close all year and it went down to the wire. It was a disappointing way to end the season, but the girls can hold their heads high.
"It's a long wait for the next one."