It was a match that held so much for rivals Mudgee and Lithgow at Glen Willow to close out the Group 10 regular season, but in the end the Workies came out on top in the battle.
For the Dragons, signs were promising early on, as Nathan Orr shone in the first half for the Dragons, slotting into fullback in recent weeks due to the absence of Corin Smith.
The shift clearly didn’t hinder his tryscoring prowess as he bagged a double in the first half half, with Todd Munn’s four-pointer and Sam Wooden’s goal giving Mudgee the 14-6 lead at half time.
The second half was just as close, as Brendon Van Veen added to Greg Alderson’s first half try, and Harry Bender slotted his second of two goals for the afternoon to bring the traveling Workies within just two points of the win, and finals footy for 2017.
Plenty of chances for the Dragons came in the second half, but a lack of finishing prowess, a few mistakes and a head knock to Orr late in the half to send him to the sideline all proved critical to Mudgee’s defeat as Eli Felton ran in just one more try for Lithgow.
Then it was ten minutes of hard goal line defence for the Workies as they clung to their two point advantage,
In the end, a denied try was the difference for the Dragons, as they crossed with minutes to go but were pulled back when the official called offside on one of the chasers.
And then the siren sounded, and the Workies were in the finals.
For the Dragons, the defeat means fourth place, and a match against the Lithgow outfit next weekend at Glen Willow. It’s a longer road to the grand final to defend their premiership now, but a chance for revenge next weekend could be the springboard that they need to fire in the finals.
In earlier matches, firsts fell to the Workies and will finish in seventh place ahead of the Orange Hawks and the Blayney Bears.
The Under 18s have made their way into the finals in fifth place, and now face a battle against against the young Bears in the opening round of the elimination matches.
Finally, the Ladies League Tag squad will not be playing finals in 2017, falling 24-0 to the Workies Ladies.