Group 10 champions Mudgee survived their second scare from the Cowra Magpies this season, recovering late in the game to claim a 32-20 victory.
The Magpies edged in front during the second 40 minutes at Mudgee’s Glen Willow Stadium, before the Dragons stormed home to record their fifth win of the year and consolidate fourth place on the Group 10 ladder.
The result is the second occasion this season that the defending premiers have ousted the Magpies, having scored a 14-10 victory at Sid Kallas Oval in round one.
Coach Rory Brien took positives out of the match, as the Magpies remain determined on securing a finals spot in 2017.
“There was a lot of good things to take away from the match. But it’s back to the drawing board and focus to turns to next week,” he said.
Last year the Dragons were crowned Group 10 premiers off the back of a massive second half of the season, climbing back into the finals and defying the odds for their victory.
This year they wanted to avoid a difficult start to the season, but with injuries, absences and a struggle to find then numbers they have had a similar tale befall them in 2017.
Their title defence has had a lift however with the return of some of the champions of old, giving them the edge on Sunday.
Corin Smith, the high-flying speedster that couldn’t resist the call of Sydney footy, has returned after a spell on the sidelines in the first half of the season, his first game back in the Red V since the Mudgee 9s before the season began.
The scoring began less than a minute in as Nick Harvey crossed the line, with both Nathan Orr and Sam Wooden recording doubles, as Wooden also kicked four of the possible six goals on offer.
It was an afternoon of doubles, as Nic Collett also left Glen Willow with a brace for the Magpies, although it wasn’t enough in the end.
The result was an important for the Dragons heading into the second half of the season, and now move into an uncontested fourth place with a 5-4 record.
The Magpies had no luck in the first division match and the under-18s as well, with the young Dragons winning 26-10 off a Mitchell Harvey hat-trick, while the first division side stormed home 36-18.
In league tag however, despite it being all one way traffic for the Dragons as they ran 14 points home off the back of three tries in the opening half, the Magpies lifted at half-time and answered back with twenty points of their own.
Mudgee Dragons 32 (Nathan Orr 2, Sam Wooden 2, Ben Thompson, Nick Harvey tries; Wooden 4 goals) defeated Cowra Magpies 20 (Nick Collett 2, Blake Tidswell, Mitch Browne tries; Cam Breust 2 goals)