Everyone knew the Group 10 elimination semi-final clash between the Mudgee Dragons and Lithgow Workies was going to be a tough one.
A quick thinking Lithgow side opened up the scoring, which was ultimately the first of three tries to come in the first 20 minutes.
Lithgow's Keelan Bresac, Nick Bender and Ryan Jervis all scored early.
Five minutes after the Workies' trio of tries, Mudgee's Jared Robinson dove for four to get the ball rolling for the home side to bring the scoreboard to 16-4.
With a minute left on the clock until the half-time whistle, a determined Jack Beasley made something out of nothing, slicing straight down the middle of the Workies' defence to bring the half-time score to 16-10.
"We let that try in just before half-time and everyone's head went down," Workie's player Ryan Jervis said.
We shot ourselves in the foot.Ryan Jervis
While Mudgee captain-coach Jack Littlejohn insists he 'didn't have one of my sprays' during the half-time breather, the red and white outfit came out firing in the second instalment of 40, scoring three tries in 12 minutes. The tries went to Robinson, Lee Hicks and Jayden Brown.
Not long after, Robinson went for his third of the day but suffered a blow to the head as a consequence, which was followed by a conversion and penalty kick off the boot of Beasley, bringing the score to 32-16 Mudgee's way.
There were next to no indicators that Lithgow were giving up as Brendon Van Veen, Jack Sullivan and Greg Behan all crossed the line to bring the game to a 36-30 close.
Workies man Ryan Jervis said allowing the handover from "stupid penalties" is what gave the Dragons the victory.
"We shot ourselves in the foot, especially by giving away stupid penalties," he said.
"We had 80 minutes to do it and we couldn't get it done, can't blame us and can't blame them, that's just how it went."
While happy with his side's performance, Littlejohn says a combination of poor discipline and confidence let Lithgow back into the game.
"We let them back into it through poor discipline and thinking that we had it wrapped up when we didn't, but it was good for the boys to fight and get away with a win like that going into next week," he said.
Despite the loss, Jervis was already looking to the future of the Lithgow Workies Wolves.
"I hope everyone comes back next year, we've got a good thing going," he said.
Jervis wished the Mudgee boys luck in their next match against Orange.
"Good luck to the boys," he said.
Mudgee will now take on the Orange Hawks at Wade Park next Sunday (2.45pm kick-off) to fight for a grand final spot against the Bathurst Panthers, Littlejohn says there's no doubt in his mind it will be an action packed game.
"It'll be a good game, I think we're 1-all. I think we beat them the first round then they beat us the second time, it'll be a tough game," he said.
MUDGEE DRAGONS 36 (Jared Robinson 3, Lee Hicks 2, Jayden Brown, Jack Beasley tries; Harrison Maynard 2, Jack Beasley conversions; Jack Beasley penalty kick) def LITHGOW WORKIES 30 (Keelan Bresac, Nick Bender, Ryan Jervis, Brendon Van Veen, Jack Sullivan and Greg Behan tries; Josh Howarth 3 goals).
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