EVERY week that went past with no football, CSU Red coach Andrew Smith was starting to accept that his undefeated team would not get the chance to compete for a premiership.
And unfortunately for Smith and the local football community, that thought became reality when Bathurst District Football announced on Friday that all competitions would be abandon, with the top team in each grade and age group to be awarded the minor premiership.
For CSU Red, it's was an especially disappointing end to the season because they had been so dominant in BDF men's premier league, leading the ladder ahead of reigning premiers Collegians by six points on the ladder with three rounds to go.
While ultimately disappointed his team couldn't compete for the premiership, Smith admitted he made his peace with the possibility of not playing for the grand final weeks ago.
"It is disappointing that we couldn't finish the season off properly and have a final series, to play for the win, which is what we play for," he said.
"Nevertheless, we're very happy that we were able to walk away with the minor premiership. I think it was well deserved. I don't think many can argue with that minor premiership title.
"I had sort of accepted it a few a weeks when football was stopped due to COVID. Every day or week that went by, I made my peace with the fact we weren't going to play football again."
CSU Red's performance this season has been impressive, rising from midtable in 2020 to the clear dominant force this season.
Smith described his team's run this year as "unbelievable".
"I kid you not, I could not single out one player that got us to where we finished," he said.
"I'd put it down to the whole team. In every area of the park - midfield, defence, attack - we had somebody quality in all those areas.
"I feel like our team compared to other teams in the competition has quality right across the park. Other teams heavily rely on a few individuals."
While this was Smith's first year coaching the team, he said the job was made easy thanks to the players in the squad.
"These guys made my life really easy," he said.
"There were leaders right across the park and a few rookies that really stepped up and showed leadership. They're just quality footballers and I'm really happy with the effort they put."
Smith always thanked the Bathurst District Football to doing their best to organise the competition throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the other men's senior competitions, the 2021 minor premiership went to Panorama in second grade, Eglinton in third grade, Collegians in fourth grade and Bathurst City Red Tops in fifth grade.
In juniors, Macquarie Mountain Lions were minor premiers in under 12s, Collegians in under 13s, Macquarie Tigers in under 14s, Bathurst 75 Royals in under 15s and Abercrombie in under 16s.
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