Kempsey Cannonballs have finished 2021 with one outright minor-premier and one joint victor after Mid North Coast Rugby Union made the call to cancel this year's final series.
Reserve grade were the outright side while 18s shared the spoils with Coffs Harbour Snappers due to the ongoing statewide lockdown.
It's an extraordinary achievement for Kempsey after the club looked to be struggling for reserve grade numbers weeks out from the season.
Hastings Valley Vikings claimed the 2021 minor premiership in first grade after a successful campaign.
"It's a bit of an empty feeling. Ideally we would have loved to have played a grand final on Oxley Oval and do it the proper way," Vikings co-coach Adam McCormack told the Port News.
"To have that taken away after a full season of footy is pretty disappointing not only for us and our under-16s, but for all the other teams who won their major semis."
"It's not just our club. Kempsey reserve grade were the best team all year and it's been a while since they've won a premiership. It would have meant a lot to them to be awarded a premiership (after the major semi-final) and they should have got one."
Mid North Coast zone president Peter Gerathy understood McCormack's disappointment, but said there were too many moving pieces required in too short of a timeframe.
They simply ran out of time to get back on the park.
"With the return to play protocols, if you have five weeks off for example, you have to ensure all clubs still playing have a minimum of six training runs," he said.
When the NSW statewide lockdown was extended until August 21 and then out to August 28 and then further until September 10, the rugby season's fate was sealed.
"It would have been six weeks-plus between games which is eight training runs with too many games thrown in there," Mr Gerathy said.
"You've got to take player welfare into account. You can't have players going straight back out there."
Gerathy said the finals competition is for a different trophy to the regular season and it hadn't been completed.
That was why they couldn't hand out a major premiership to the winners of the major semi-finals.
"A minor premier is awarded at the completion of the regular season whereas a major premier is awarded at the completion of the semi-final series," he said.
"We've only had one game in the finals series so it hasn't been completed.
"I can absolutely understand the disappointment within people and clubs, but Marlins, Kempsey and even Bowraville in second grade didn't have the chance to play for that premiership.
"As we didn't complete the semi-finals we couldn't award the trophy."
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