The Raiders, who finished the regular season with a horrendous for and against of more than negative 100, still found their way into the finals despite a dismal finish to the regular season.
Widely viewed as cannon fodder on Sunday afternoon, the Raiders put up a dramatic fight against the Newcastle Knights, who had the backing of their third straight sell out crowd at home in the Hunter.
Canberra would head into halftime well ahead in the game, but the second half turned sour, only for the green machine to fight back again and force extra time, before a controversial penalty to the Knights got them over the line in a thriller.
The Knights will now head across the Tasman to take on the New Zealand Warriors in next Saturday's semi-final, but it was Stuart in his post-game press conference who said what the Raiders had shown during the elimination final was within the club DNA.
RELATED: NRL finals Week 2 schedule
He also took a swing at the media for not reporting on the fact they had a number of key players out.
“The performance wasn't what everybody expected, it wasn't what you guys expected, it wasn't what anybody expected outside the club,” Stuart said.
“That's the Raiders DNA, what you are seeing there tonight. That's why we are a top eight side, unlucky not to be in the top four, but not according to so many people.
“I said throughout the week, you wouldn't have thought we were playing semi final football.. I was so proud tonight.
“You wouldn't know that we had two Origin players out and an international player but you probably would have heard about it if it was another club.
“We don't talk about it, we just worry about the next bloke up … I was so proud of their efforts in a difficult environment.”
The loss will have its fair share of talking points, with one to continue into the week. South Sydney Rabbitohs recruit Jack Wighton could start his stint at Redfern with a suspension after he was referred directly to the judiciary for allegedly biting the arm of Tyson Gamble.
The final penalty allowing Kalyn Ponga to kick a penalty goal to take the Knights to victory will also be questioned.
Canberra turned Sunday's game - which was widely expected to be one-way traffic - into a thriller despite the adversity they faced, but now drop out of the finals race and will have plenty to improve on next year.
The side are still yet to make a signing who will replace Wighton, and their for and against this year indicates they were well short of competing with the big guns at various stages.