MUDGEE Dragons first division coach Shane Weatherley said it “was a great feeling to win a grand final” after his team took out the Group 10 first division competition 30-24 over Orange CYMS at Lithgow yesterday.
The Dragons, who had not won the reserve grade title since beating CYMS in the 1986 decider, scored six tries to four in an error-riddled, ill-disciplined and thrilling match.
Both sides struggled to gain the upper hand throughout the match but it was the red and whites who were cheering and smiling at the end of 70 minutes of football.
“It was one of those games, it was a very tough game. CYMS showed they would be tough contenders and they did. We stuck to our guns, it wasn’t our best game of football€in the end we got trophy,” Weahterley said.
Andy Laurie was one of the best for the Dragons, coming off the bench to make crucial runs but more importantly score two tries including the match winner with three minutes remaining.
Weatherley said his playing squad deserved the victory.
“From the one to 30 and we always said it would take 30 players to win this competition, there were half a dozen boys that didn’t get a run today and they have come down, they have stuck by us and they are as part of the side as much as those blokes that took the field,” he said.
With every sport there has to be a loser and unfortunately CYMS were on the wrong side of the scoreboard in the first division grand final for the second year in a row.
“It was pretty tough. We got to a 10-4 lead and let them in with a few piggybacks down the field with penalties,” CYMS captain-coach Brad Prevett said.
“In the second half we made too many mistakes and a couple of silly penalties that I don’t understand but anyway that’s the game, that’s football.”
Mudgee couldn’t have started better when Chris Hanson crossed over in the corner in the first minute after some Justin Gossage magic.
CYMS fought back and grabbed a 6-4 lead following Tim Smith’s converted try.
CYMS got on a roll and were pounding the Mudgee try line on a regular basis.
Despite the lion’s share of territory, CYMS could not cross the line and it took another 15 minutes before the green and golds went over again through prop Bryce Jones.
Mudgee awoke from their slumber and scored back-to-back tries within five minutes of each other to Aaron Weatherley and Tim Ward to take a 14-12 lead into the sheds at half-time.
The start of the second half was a mirror image of the first with Mudgee scoring inside the first two minutes after Peter McDonnell ran onto a miracle offload from Brad James.
James converted the try and Mudgee shot out to an eight-point lead.
But the ball bounced into touch from the kick-off and from the resulting scrum, CYMS’ Wayne Collett crossed over untouched to make it 20-18.
Laurie scored his first try of two tries with 20 minutes to go but it was cancelled out by Luke Coleman’s four pointer minutes later.
At 26-24, the game was hanging in the balance until Orange’s centre Claude Gordon was sin-binned with six minutes to go.
The extra man advantage paid off for Mudgee as the pint-sized Laurie spotted a gap from dummy half and crashed over to make it 30-24 and seal the win for the Dragons.
MUDGEE DRAGONS 30 (Andy Laurie 2, Tim Ward, Chris Hanson, Peter McDonnell, Aaron Weatherley tries; Brad James 3 goals) def ORANGE CYMS 24 (Wayne Collett, Tim Smith, Luke Coleman, Bryce Jones tries; Blake Baxter 4 goals).