It started with promise, powered along with fortitude, before ending in heartbreak.
Season 2021 was the one where Bacchus Marsh was left to rue a COVID-compromised season and all its intricacies.
For nine rounds, the Cobras warmed a finals spot.
On the final matchday - not that they knew it - they crashed out of contention.
Once as high as third, Bacchus Marsh was forced to settle for seventh as the season came to an end before a chance to step back into line.
With all the stops, starts, and indecision in between, it's easy to forget this was new coach Tom German's first "proper" season in charge, despite signing on at the end of 2019.
Proper by virtue of there actually being games to play and training to prepare for.
An opening-round loss was rectified the following weekend against Darley. Then there was that loss to Melton South, ending a 3276-day winning streak against the Panthers.
A resounding win against reigning premier East Point cut the funeral procession short before a trip to City Oval that will live long in the memories of the Cobras' faithful.
Had all things gone to plan, and in some arguments had we had a "normal" season, this would have the been result to motivate Bacchus Marsh.
The Cobras arrived at City Oval, a ground where they had beaten Redan in over a decade, hungry and motivated.
An opening quarter goal was the only major Bacchus Marsh would concede in the whole game.
The Cobras arrived underdogs but left a serious finals threat.
Then the first break happened.
Thirty-six days separated the Cobras' buoyant win against Redan and their loss to North Ballarat on the season's return.
For most of the list, including coach Tom German, that time was spent housebound in Melbourne's longer lockdown.
A round eight win against Lake Wendouree steadied things before an inspiring result against Sebastopol built belief. Without its three main forwards, Jake and Jaidyn Owen and Aaron Willitts - the brothers due to Jake's wedding and Willitts with a calf injury - the newly-dubbed "Baby Cobras" stepped on to the field.
Three debutants were blooded, and several reserves players were promoted, as the new-look side held on by one goal.
"If you finish on the other side of those (tight) results, it can really deflate you. But to get the results the past two weeks, it shows we've built on what we wanted to work on," German said.
The Cobras were third, but not for long. A loss to Sunbury saw a drop to fifth. Still, it was a finals spot, with four rounds remaining, and the Cobras enjoyed a four-point buffer with the chasing pack.
That's when the second break happened.
Another two weeks spent with half a list locked up in Melbourne and the rest training through uncertainty.
The Cobras' return wasn't going to be easy either, tasked with welcoming a Melton side that had only lost two games in the season.
Things weren't going terribly. Forward duo Aaron Willitts and Jake Owen were firing together, and their team was only two goals down at quarter-time.
Then the Bloods slowly inched away, push the Cobras further down the ladder each time they hit the board.
A 26-point loss dropped Bacchus Marsh to seventh, only 2.7 per cent off finals contention.
Another lockdown - season over.
For a year the began with such anticipation, the Cobras were left to wade through a sea of "what ifs".
What if we had just one more game? Could we have kicked just one more goal?
Despite its end, there were still plenty of positives from the season.
Daniel Burton asserted himself as one of the league's dominant forces and will be firmly in the running for the Henderson Medal.
Jake Owen long led the goalkicking list, but even a third-place finish is no small feat.
The "Baby Cobras" got a run.
With German locked in for 2022, this year could well end up being the unforeseen character test he and he charges needed.
7th, 5 wins, 5 losses, 20pts, 97.92 per cent
Rd 1: def by Ballarat, 5.10 (40) to 9.12 (66)
Rd 2: beat Darley, 11.11 (77) to 3.3 (21)
Rd 3: def by Melton South, 10.14 (74) to 16.8 (104)
Rd 4: beat East Point, 13.9 (87) to 8.8 (56)
Rd 5: beat Redan, 10.13 (73) to 1.12 (18)
Rd 6: BYE
Rd 7: def by North Ballarat, 8.11 (59) to 19.16 (130)
Rd 8: beat Lake Wendouree, 10.7 (67) to 8.15 (63)
Rd 9: beat Sebastopol, 8.7 (55) to 7.7 (49)
Rd 10: def by Sunbury, 9.9 (63) to 11.10 (76)
Rd 11: def by Melton, 8.15 (63) to 13.11 (89)
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