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The Mudgee Dragons have fired in Round One of the 2023 Peter McDonald Premiership (PMP), defeating Forbes Magpies 26-18 at Glen Willow Regional Sports Stadium last Saturday.

It was an entertaining curtain raiser for Mudgee’s NRL match between the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and Newcastle Knights which ended in a thrilling 32-all draw.

As expected, a big Mudgee crowd turned out for the Rugby League showcase, with the PMP season opener in the balance at times, and the bounce of the ball deciding key moments.

Mudgee struck first with Jayden Brown crossing after just seven minutes, but Forbes quickly hit back to lead 6-4 after 13 minutes of play.

It was a real battle in the first half with the Dragons going ahead 8-6 after a try to Corin Smith, and they extended that to 12-6 when Pacey Stockton crossed before half-time.

Forbes levelled up five minutes into the second half before the Dragons scored through Hayden Carpenter with Jayden Brown slotting the conversion to take the lead again 18-12.

The game was there to be won by both sides before Mudgee centre Nathan Orr scooped up a kick and raced almost the length of the field to gain some breathing space at 22-12. Orr backed that up with another try to ensure it would be the Dragons’ day.

Mudgee will now prepare for a round two away trip to Dubbo when taking on the CYMS at Apex Oval on Saturday, April 22.

Photos courtesy of B.J. Photography - Mudgee
Photos courtesy of B.J. Photography - Mudgee

Forbes did go into the match understrength, missing Mitch Andrews (injury), while recruit and former NRL player Pio Seci didn’t play.

Still, the Magpies won’t be looking for excuses as they prepare for their Round Two match against a visiting Orange CYMS at Spooner Oval on Saturday, April 22.

The PMP season proper will kick off after Easter, with Bathurst St Patricks playing Nyngan Tigers at Jack Arrow Oval and Dubbo CYMS playing Bathurst Panthers at Apex Oval on Saturday, April 15.

On Sunday, April 16, Wellington Cowboys take on Lithgow Workies Wolves at Kennard Park, and Orange CYMS host Dubbo Macquarie Raiders at a venue to be confirmed.

Mudgee Dragons 26 (Nathan Orr 2, Jayden Brown, Corin Smith, Pacey Stockton, Hayden Carpenter tries; Jayden Brown goal) def Forbes Magpies 18 (Traie Merritt, Coopa Martin, Martin Herbert tries; Nick Greenhalgh 3 goals).

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New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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