YOU can never write-off a champion club.
Long Flat has battled out a magnificent 22-all draw against Lower Macleay in one of the best games of Hastings League this season.
The Dragons were best served by Luke O'Brien who effected 41 tackles with Robbie Costigan 38 and Andrew Lawrence 29. Promising young forward Vance Byles led the hit ups with 22, Lawrence 18 and Brock Bell 16.
Lower Macleay jumped to an early 10-0 lead after tries to forward Byron Prior and Toby Malcolm with Joel McCafferty booted one conversion.
The Dragons got on the scoresheet in the 21st minute when centre Trent Dixon crossed the tryline and James Mumford booted the extras.
The Magpies lost Nathan Miller to the sin bin on 31 minutes and within the next set Dixon had doubled his try tally. Although Mumford failed with the conversion, the scores were locked up at 10-all.
Five minutes from half time, Mumford crossed for a converted try to hand his side a 16-10 lead.
Playing with a bare 13 players - and co-coach Marcus Theofanou playing injured - the Dragons were expected to get over-run in the second half.
But it was the Dragons who extended the lead on 70 minutes when O'Brien scored a great try despite having Theofanou in the sin bin on 63 minutes. Mumford landed the extras to take the Long Flat side out to 22-10 leaders.
The Dragons then suffered a double blow when fellow co-captain and coach Robbie Costigan was sin binned on 72 minutes.
The Magpies took advantage and McCafferty posted his side's third try of the match at the 73rd minute mark. He also landed the conversion to bring the Magpies back to 22-16 with five minutes remaining.
Three minutes from full time, Magpies hooker, Zac McKiernan, got over the tryline and McCafferty converted to leave the scores level at 22-all.