GRAFTON Redmen's season is all but over following a belting at the hands of Ballina on Saturday.
The Redmen travelled the two hours up the Pacific Highway with an under-strength team for the must-win game, with illness, injury and unavailability contributing to the lack of numbers.
On arrival, they were greeted by one of the muddiest pitches they had seen all season, with coach Don Darke describing it as quagmire.
"It wasn't pretty. The field was an absolute quagmire," Darke said.
"I pulled up as third grade was finishing and the ground was pretty ordinary then.
"I don't think the game should've gone ahead at all."
Darke would not use that as an excuse for his team's loss, which has all but ended their season.
"We didn't adjust and made way too many mistakes," Darke said.
"Every time we looked dangerous we would give up possession. Ballina did what they had to from there and deserved the win."
The Redmen still have four games to play following next week's bye round, but their finals chances were left in the Ballina mud.
You can expect Grafton to stand and fight for the rest of the season however, with Darke and co-coach Peter Tonkin already looking to next season.
"We put a few young guys through on the weekend and they did well," Darke said.
"I was very happy with how David Clarke and Billy Weatherstone went.
"We will look to the future for the rest of the season and mix up a few things."
The Redmen's next game is away to Bangalow on August 3.