Heartbreaking. Embarrassing. A joke. Not even reserve grade standard.
They were some of the words used by Bathurst Panthers captain-coach Jake Betts when summing up his side's performance in a Peter McDonald Premiership round one thrashing at the hands of Dubbo CYMS on Sunday.
The mercy rule came into effect in the final minute at Apex Oval as CYMS reached 60-0 in a hugely lopsided contest.
Panthers - winners of back-to-back Group 10 premiership as recently as 2018 and 2019 - lost of a host of players during the off-season but arrived at Dubbo full of belief after attracting some new faces and winning a pre-season knockout.
For the first 12 minutes the match went as expected as the sides muscled up to each other during a fast-paced opening, but after CYMS scored their first try of the day it was simply one-way traffic.
New recruit Chanse Burgess starred at lock for CYMS and scored a hat-trick while representative star and 2022 PMP leading try-scorer Jeremy Thurston also crossed three times.
Betts said the performance was "embarrassing right across the park" and said some difficult conversations would be needed after the Fishies carved them up with ease during the eleven-tries-to-nil showing.
"It's pretty heartbreaking," he said of the mercy rule being used.
"It's a joke. We're a bit of a joke at the moment.
"I thought we prepared really well but other clubs will be looking at us and laughing and rightfully so.
"It's a premier competition and we're supposed to be a big club so there will be some tough conversations this week and we'll go from there."
While Betts and his players were left shattered when the final whistle sounded, there was joy in the CYMS camp.
The Fishies expected a tough contest and even they couldn't believe the nature of the match after the even initial stages.
The CYMS forwards dominated the contest, with short balls close to the line something Panthers were unable to handle.
"It was a day out for the forwards," Burgess smiled at full-time.
"We just wanted to go through them and that first 20 minutes was quick and hard. Once they started knocking up we started going through them up the middle and you don't fix something that isn't broken."
A former Mudgee Dragons and Dunedoo Swan, Burgess spent last season playing union but was eager to get back to the 13-man game.
He was also keen to test himself in the top grade again and, as a mate of CYMS forwards Ben Marlin and Billy Sing, he decided to come across and give the Fishies a go.
"I came over and had a training run and I loved it straight away so I signed up," he said.
"It's a super professional club and I'm fortunate they took me in and treated me as one of their own.
"We got absolutely flogged over the summer but it all pays off as you see in round one. Everyone is fit."
Burgess said that intense pre-season - which even coach Shawn Townsend admitted was tougher than usual - played a big role in his hat-trick performance.
The lock got through big minutes and his first two tries came via short balls from Jordi Madden and Alex Bonham, who impressed back at hooker after playing in the halves in recent years.
CYMS led 28-0 at half-time and went on with the job in the second stanza after Panthers made an error in their first set following the restart.
It was all too common for the Bathurst side, who struggled to complete sets, lost the battle up front, and were cut open far too regularly.
Burgess completed his treble when he finished off a flowing move early in the second half and after that superstar fullback Thurston got in on the act.
The first two four-pointers were relatively simple but the third came after a lovey inside ball from Ben Marlin put Thurston into space and he ran 50m to score under the black dot.
"Very happy with that result. It's unreal," Burgess added.
Thurston finished the match with 28 points after kicking eight conversion while winger Tom Hughes scored a double in the win and Corey Drew, Jarryn Powyer and Kyjuan Crawford also crossed.
As for Panthers, Betts was adamant the off-season exodus couldn't be used as an excuse for one of the club's poorest performances in recent history.
"No way in the world," he said.
"The blokes we had there did the hard work and they're quality players. We had a next man up mentality.
"We've worked hard and we should be holding each other accountable but that was not good enough in any way, shape or form."
Returning halfback Doug Hewitt wasn't deemed fit enough to play on Saturday and plenty of responsibility will be on his shoulders when he makes his expected return next week against Parkes Spacemen.
CYMS will make the long trek to Lithgow to take on the Workies Wolves in round two.