Captain Jack Beasley had tears in eyes, star fullback Jack Littlejohn looked lost as he wandered on his own away from the playing group, and others were consoled by family and friends.
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The Mudgee Dragons were heartbroken on Sunday after being beaten by Dubbo CYMS in the 2023 Peter McDonald Premiership grand final.
There to pick them up was player-coach Clay Priest, but the former NRL player had his own emotions to deal with.
Priest was forced to watch from the sidelines on Sunday as he continued to serve a six-week ban for a high shot which occurred late on during a round 14 win over Bathurst St Pat's.
One of the best forward's in the competition, Priest's absence was a real blow for the Dragons and he admitted it was difficult feeling helpless on the sideline.
"It's been like this for the last few weeks," Priest said.
"I wish I could be out there to help them but that obviously was not my job.
The Dragons finished minor premiers in the Group 10 pool for the past two seasons.
In 2022 they were knocked out at the preliminary final stage but CYMS and it was the Fishies who brought about their downfall again on Sunday.
CYMS scored the first try in just the fourth minute and while Mudgee had chances - most notably when Littlejohn was held up over the line on 18 minutes after an incredible try-saving effort from Ben Marlin - the hosts went on to lead 14-0 at the break.
While the Dragons were first to score after the restart through centre David West, two tries for CYMS in the space of four minutes sent them on their way to the 25-12 victory.
"They're a quality side. We just missed our opportunities," Priest said.
"There were chances there that we probably should have taken and we didn't.
"Big games are won in those big moments and if you miss those opportunities, well it's unfortunate."
The fact his players were so upset at the final result just showed how much they cared about the jersey, Priest said, while a huge amount of travelling supporters rallied around them post-game.
One comment from the Dragons fans directed towards CYMS in the second half went too far and security was called to the sideline, but otherwise the fans in red and white helped create what was a crackling atmosphere at Apex Oval.
Speaking at the post-game presentation, Beasley thanked the club's supporters and said he was proud of his teammates who he regards as best mates.
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