A scrappy and spiteful 9-8 loss to Russia ended Australia's bid for their first Olympic medal in water polo since 2012.
But the Stingers still farewelled four-time Olympian Bronwen Knox in style, their emphatic 14-7 defeat of the Netherlands on the last day securing fifth position.
Australia will rue their lack of composure at key points and several if-only moments that led to their losses, including the occasions they failed to take advantage of having an extra player .
In the quarter final they rallied after trailing 8-4 ,after they had a 2-1 lead thanks to Zoe Arancini and Dolls Points Keesja Gofers.
Debutante Bronte Halligan's second goal with 16 seconds left gave the side hope but there was no miracle equaliser- a result that came five years after losing a quarter-final shootout in Rio.
Australia coach Predrag Mihailovic was given a red card in the brutal clash as both sides were repeatedly penalised and fouled.
"It was a hard game, a tough game with a lot of physicality," Mihailovic said.
"We made mistakes, which is part of the sport."
Mihailovic highlighted how the absence of tune-ups for the Games hindered his charges' preparation.
"We haven't had this atmosphere, this tension.
"In these circumstances, they gave their best and I'm proud of them." he said
The Stingers then played two matches to determine their final ranking, between fourth and eighth.
They got a small slice of redemption in the first when they defeated Canada 14-12 in a penalty shootout .
Bayside's Lea Yanitsas was impressive, saving two crucial goals, with Aussie goals coming from Zoe Arancini, Amy Ridge, Hannah Buckling and Keesja Gofers again.
Assistant Coach Rebecca Rippon was happy to grind out the win.
"It was tough, and it was close " she said
"Our defence relies on everyone doing their part, and that's what we spoke about- everyone playing their role in defence, and then playing their role in attack." said Rippon
They then took on the Netherlands in their final game on Saturday, sending off four-time Olympian Bronwen Knox a winner, their 14-7 defeat of the Netherlands securing fifth place.
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