If Adam McCormack could have walked off the field and headed straight home after Hastings Valley Vikings' 57-38 victory over Kempsey Cannonballs on Saturday, he would have.
The Vikings co-coach was so disappointed at the defensive effort from his team that the win felt like a loss even if it did all-but secure top spot before the finals.
"I didn't even want to sing the song after the game because I was that shattered about how we played," McCormack told the Port Macquarie News.
"We had a big focus on defence this week and we let 38 points in which is just not good enough if you want to be a premiership team. That's not first grade footy."
There were extenuating circumstances after Ash Grieve, Tom Woods and Pete Segol all joined the casualty ward, but McCormack still expected better from his side.
They led 31-7 at the break before the rot set in.
"We were always out in front and the scoreboard was ticking over, but it was almost like we let them score (in the second half)," McCormack said.
"It was a lack of effort today and didn't feel like a win for anyone."
The signs were ominous after Hastings Valley's kick-off didn't travel the required distance which put them on the back foot.
It was an indication of what was to come.
"That kills the momentum when you come out fired up for a game and you go straight into a scrum," McCormack said.
While the Vikings defence at times was paper-thin, the Cannonballs attack asked plenty of questions.
"Kempsey kept coming at us and they always do. They scored some really good tries and it would have been easy for them to pack up shop and say 'we're done', but they kept coming every chance they got," McCormack said.
"They're going to be good in a few years. They've got a lot of young talent playing which is great."
Caedan Allan, Braden Farrawell and Lachlan Munday were the try-scorers for the Cannonballs with various injuries throughout the game seeing their forward back change constantly.
Prop Misimoa Tavete played a full game for the third consecutive week while Tom Rootes was forced to go from inside centre to hooker throughout the match.
Kempsey now have the bye in first grade while their reserves and women face Bowraville Goannas this weekend.
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