Central North must have felt like they were caught in a tidal wave in the first half as their hopes of home Richardson Shield glory were blown away in the first half of Sunday's final.
After making a blistering start in their semi-final against Western Plains on Saturday, the Kookaburras simply weren't in the contest against a red-hot Far North Coast side at Scully Park.
Nothing really worked for the home side in the first 40. They slipped off too many tackles, were under pressure in the scrum, and didn't see a lot of ball. And when they did they turned it over after a couple of phases.
The result was a 36-7 lead for the Dolphins at half-time.
The Kookaburras fought back in the second half but the damage had been done as the Dolphins claimed the silverware 53-28.
"Maybe we'd sort of got in the final, and we hadn't been there for a little while, so we though 'yes we're here' but then we've got to turn up to play," Kookaburras coach Colin Mayes offered as to why they were so slow out of the blocks.
He said they will "take a lot from that experience", but paid credit to a well-drilled and well-organised Dolphins' outfit.
"They were here to win it and they did and good on them," he said.
"They turned up in the first half and really gave it to us."
The first-time Kookaburras coach was proud of the way his side stood up in the second half, the scoreboard reading 21-17 in their favour.
"The boys realised that wasn't them in the first half so they came back and showed what exactly they are in the second half so it was good," he said.
One of the noticeable differences was they were able to get their outside backs involved in the game.
"We just changed things a little bit, we got more ball, we got a bit more of a roll-on, we didn't turn over so much and we were able to show what we can do with the ball when we get it," Mayes said.
"And we used our flanks a little bit more and that made a little bit more difference."
Half-back Pulu Maea was outstanding for the home side. Backing up from a double against Western Plains he scored a hat-trick. His third was the pick of them, the Inverell nine showing great footwork to step around three defenders from about 20m out.
The Kookaburras were on a roll at that point, with Josh Walker minutes earlier finishing off a sensational length of the field try.
One for the highlights reel, Sione Kamato came through the ruck and stole the ball, and then burst away before sending a long ball out to Walker, who scorched his opposite and raced away 50m to score.
Kamato was another strong performer for the Kookaburras.
The Walcha backrower was a damaging presence at number 8, both in attack and defence.
Walker was meanwhile electrifying in attack in both games.
Mayes also made mention of David James, who was only a late inclusion. Playing at fullback he saved about four tries against the Dolphins with last ditch defensive efforts.
It was a tough final day for the Kookaburras sides with the women beaten by Newcastle 15-5 and the colts like the seniors being outclassed in the first half but rallying in the second to go down to Illawarra 57-15.