A month ago Newcastle City and Nelson Bay both sat undefeated at the peak of the table, warding off all hopefuls for the top two positions.
In the second last round of the competition, both teams fell in upsets to give the chasing pack a sniff at the minor premiership.
Nelson Bay fell to Singleton in the round’s biggest scalp, with the Roosterettes claiming a narrow 4.4.28 to 2.4.16 win off the back of their ever-improving defence, while the Stars fell victim to Warners Bay for the second time this season, 7.6.48 to 4.11.35.
It was Emily Mitchell that proved key for the Roosters in their crucial match at Rose Point Park, as she kicked a goal and earned her spot in the best on field.
She was joined on the scorers’ sheet by Brianna Howard and Jade Moody in the fourth quarter, while Kyah McBride had notched one in the third.
Jessica Elliott opened the scoring in the first quarter for Nelson Bay, while Jenna Afleck scored in the third, but it wasn’t enough for the league leaders.
In the Bulldogs’ second win over the Stars for the season, Warners Bay came from behind to secure the 13 point victory.
After trailing 15 to 35 at the end of the third quarter, in part due to Sarah Halvorsen’s hat-trick, Caitlin Wolfe scored early in the fourth to get the Bulldogs rolling.
Amy Pittman and Rachel Evans both notched two in the last stanza to put the Bulldogs in front for just the second time in the match, with Evans completely her hat-trick after her second quarter goal.
Jade Macpherson also scored for Warners Bay, and was the opening scorer in the match.
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Elsewhere on the weekend, Wyong Lakes remained just a single win behind the leading duo with an 11.7.73 to 4.6.30 win over Maitland, while Killarney Vale followed suit with a massive 19.19.133 to 0.1.1 victory over Port Stephens.
In fifth place, the Newcastle City Novas returned to winning ways with an 151 point win over Wallsend-West Newcastle, 23.13.151 to 0.0.0. Kate Handley slotted seven majors for the inner-city outfit.
Gosford remain a minor outside chance for a top seven finish after their 21.14.140 to 0.0.0 win over Muswellbrook, with sharpshooter Angela Jones scoring six for the Tigers.
Jones’ six goal haul also moves her into the top goalscorer position with 49, two goals ahead of Maitland’s Sarah Burns (47) and nine ahead of City’s Sarah Halvorsen (40).
Finally, Lake Macquarie moved ahead of Muswellbrook with a 68 point win over The Entrance Bateau Bay, 9.17.71 to 0.3.3, while Cardiff and Terrigal Avoca clashed at Hillsborough Oval in a mid-table contest.
Faith Lewis proved the difference as she bagged six of the best and guided the Hawks to a triumphant 14.5.89 to 4.8.32 win.
TABLE: Nelson Bay, Stars (52), Wyong Lakes, Killarney Vale (48), Novas (44), Maitland, Singleton, Warners Bay (36), Gosford (32), Cardiff (28), Terrigal Avoca (24), Lake Macquarie (16), Muswellbrook (12), Port Stephens (8), The Entrance Bateau Bay, Wallsend-West Newcastle (4).