At a public reception honouring Brisbane's second straight A-League title on Tuesday, in-demand coach Ange Postecoglou gave anxious Roar owners a glimmer of hope by telling fans: "let's make it three".
But when the triumphant team returned to their training ground, Postecoglou broke the "tough and emotional" news to his players that he was leaving.
Assistant Rado Vidosic is expected to take over the Roar reins on Wednesday after four-time championship winning coach Postecoglou opted for a new challenge.
He is set to be named as Melbourne Victory's new coach in the next few days.
Postecoglou was all smiles at a ticker tape parade and reception held in Brisbane's CBD celebrating their back-to-back A-League championships.
But he cut a more sombre figure barely an hour later when he revealed a decision to his players he had privately made "a month or so" ago.
"I just felt it was the right time to tell them all my time at the Brisbane Roar has ended - it was a tough and emotional afternoon," Postecoglou said.
But Postecoglou admitted he almost changed his mind as the Roar juggernaut showed no sign of slowing down.
"You can't walk away from something that you have invested so much time and energy into - I didn't make it lightly," he said.
"We have been through a lot together, enjoyed success and formed a close bond - it was not an easy thing to do (walk away)."
His resignation ensures he will not be involved in the Roar's two final Asian Champions League group games, starting on Tuesday in Japan against FC Tokyo.
Postecoglou almost walked away a year ago but "it didn't feel right" with the Roar facing an uncertain future under Football Federation Australia ownership.
A year later the Roar are the envy of the A-League under new owners Bakrie Group who reportedly offered Postecoglou a $6 million, four-year deal to stay.
"To be honest it was never about the money - it was about a new challenge," Postecoglou said.
"A lot of people see job security as the No.1 priority and I had it here - maybe that's what was bugging me.
"I kind of need something to keep me going."
Roar director Chris Fong was among those at the reception who clung to hope after Postecoglou addressed the thousands of fans, only to have his hopes dashed.
Fans did their darndest to persuade Postecoglou, chanting "one more year" as he left the stage.
Fong said Nirwan Bakrie, the 60-year-old baron of the Bakrie Group, had even offered to fly in from London to try and "seal the deal" with Postecoglou.
"There was an additional offer to be based outside of Brisbane to stay with the (Bakrie) group - we said to him if you want to be based in Barcelona you can," Fong said.
In two-and-a-half years under Postecoglou, Brisbane won consecutive A-League titles, the Premier's Plate and twice qualified for the elite Asian Champions League.
They also enjoyed a record unbeaten run of 36 games.
But Fong said Postecoglou's departure would not derail the club.
"We are committed to ensuring we have the right people in place to continue the club's legacy," he said in a statement.
Melbourne-bred Postecoglou first made his name with NSL club South Melbourne, winning two titles as both a player and coach.
He is set to be confirmed as the Victory's fourth coach in little more than 12 months later this week.
Postecoglou later all but confirmed he was on the verge of joining the Victory.
"There's an ambition to coach abroad, there is, but there's still some things I want to conquer here and look, there's no secret about where I'm likely to end up," Postecoglou said on Fox Sports FC.
"There are some things that still need to be finalised and hopefully they will be over the next few days."