Cowra has claimed the 2021 Blowes Clothing Cup after Central West Rugby Union officials decided to abandon the rest of the current season.
The worsening COVID-19 situation across the Western NSW Local Health District forced the hand of CWRU chief executive Matt Tink, and the teams on top of the ladder in all grades have been crowned premiers.
Tink said "it's not the popular decision, but it's probably the courageous one" and admitted it was "a pretty hollow feeling" to cancel the season before finals
"It was a board decision, a number of various options were discussed at length and this is the decision we've reached," he said.
"It's probably not the most popular decision, but we feel that for the safety of our communities and our players, this was the right way to go.
"Various competitions were at various stages as well, to this point in time we have some groups of players who haven't played for four weeks."
In the top grade, that means Cowra claims the club's first Central West title, and it's a win Eagles players are going to celebrate.
Veteran Eagles lock Chris Miller says there's an element of relief following the decision to abandon the 2021 finals series, on a couple of fronts.
Players across the region have been battling the unknown since last lacing up the boots on August 7, and as COVID-19 cases continue to emerge across the Central West that uncertainty grew.
But news the Eagles will be crowned champions is also a weight off the club's shoulders, says Miller.
Leaping the club to the top of the ladder for the first time in 2021, Cowra's 23-12 victory in a top-of-the-table clash with Orange Emus ultimately decided the premiership.
It was the grand final neither club knew they were playing in.
"It's not the way we wanted to win it, but a win's a win and it just proves how vital that game was against Emus," former NSW Country representative Miller said.
"We knew the minor premiership was up for grabs, so we knew it was a big game.
"It's still something to celebrate and in 20 years time it'll still say 'Cowra Eagles premiers' on the trophy.
"Truth be told, we'd been working towards this for a long time ... it's just come in a different way."
The decision to abandon the rest of the season means both the Dubbo Kangaroos and Dubbo Rhinos miss out on the chance to claim premierships this season.
The Roos had finished the regular season in second spot on the Westfund Ferguson Cup ladder as well in the Blowes Clothing Cup second and third grade competitions while the colts side had also qualified for finals.
It's particularly painful for the Rhinos' second grade side, which had already booked a spot in the New Holland Agriculture Cup grand final prior to the lockdown being announced.
The Rhinos' colts had also finished the regular season in second and seemed destined for an enthralling premiership battle with top side Orange City.
Orange Emus have been crowed premiers in the Blowes Clothing Cup's second and third titles, while City claimed the colts' crown.
The Bathurst Bulldogs women have won the Westfund Ferguson Cup title for a fifth successive season while the Narromine Gorillas have been named champions of the Westfund North Cup.
The Parkes Boars and Mudgee Wombats won the New Holland Agriculture Cup first and second grade titles respectively.
The Oilsplus South West Cup and Ferguson South West Cup have been won by Cootamundra and Temora respectively.
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