Halifax coach Karl Harrison conceded his side looked “spent” during their 54-12 play-off loss to Sheffield on Sunday.
Fax trailed 22-0 at half time against the South Yorkshire side, who will now play Leigh on Thursday night for a place in the Grand Final, before the Eagles eased clear in an even more one-sided second period.
Harrison and his players now have a winter to reflect on a shattering end to a season that reached a glorious high with their Northern Rail Cup win over Featherstone at the end of July.
“We looked a spent force; we looked tired and lacked energy all game,” admitted the former Great Britain forward, who rebuilt his side from scratch after arriving from Batley a year ago.
“We’ve been patching a team up behind the scenes for a few weeks now because of injuries and it looked like it caught up with us.
“Sheffield were pretty clinical and took every chance they had, but we still had enough chances to win five games.
“We bombed some certain tries in that first half and if we’d taken those it might have been a 40-40 kind of game.
“We were poor though, and while it might be okay for certain clubs to get beat in that way, it’s not here.
“I felt some of the players gave up in the second half and you can’t excuse some of the things that happened out there.
“Overall, it’s a disappointing finish and we have been a little bit flat since the Northern Rail final, I think winning that was perhaps enough for some of them.
“We’ve not found our best form since then.”