West Maitland recorded their third straight win of their return A-grade season with a narrow 30-28 result against Windale at Coronation Oval on Sunday.
The Red Dogs held on for the round eight triumph in the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League competition after leading 18-6 at half-time and 30-22 in the dying stages.
“We got up in the end but they came back well,” Red Dogs player and club president Ricky Balcombe said.
“They scored a try with three minutes to go but missed the kick to even it up.
“It could have gone either way really and another five minutes and they probably would have got us.”
Making the victory even sweeter was the fact Balcombe and five other regular starters were sidelined for the game.
“We had six blokes from the run-on side who couldn’t play so we thought we were going to get done,” he said.
“They are one of the better teams and were sitting third but our boys really gave it to them.”
Balcombe said fullback Ben Simon was the stand out performer for the home side and he was one of five try scorers.
Simon was joined on the score sheet by winger Matthew Yates, prop Dan Farley, hooker James Fraser and second-rower Jordan Kupenga while centre Tom Cremona kicked three conversions and five-eighth Trent Davies two.
The result, following 32-26 and 16-10 wins against two-time defending champions Wallsend Maryland and cross-town rivals East Maitland, puts West Maitland (8) in a share of fifth spot on the ladder and only one game away from fourth-placed Windale (10).
East Maitland (7) are now one rung below the Red Dogs after playing out a 12-all draw with second-placed Dudley (12) at Dudley on Saturday.
Winger Brad Nichols and centre Shaun Vidito crossed for the Griffins while Kade Hardy kicked both conversions.
Shortland (12) beat last-placed Cardiff (4) 48-22 in the other A-grade game to go ahead with Wallsend Maryland (8) forfeiting to competition front runners Belmont Souths (14).
In B-grade, Morisset drew level with Fingal Bay at the bottom of the ladder with an 18-16 win while West Wallsend upset league leaders Newcastle University 34-14, Dora Creek accounted for the Cessnock Cutters (34-24) and Tea Gardens moved closer to Mallabula on the table with a 34-14 triumph.
In C-grade, both Raymond Terrace and Thornton Beresfield strengthened their positions at the top of the overall standings with 38-14 and 26-8 wins against Carrington and Dungog respectively while Paterson River were beaten 42-24 by Lambton and Waratah Mayfield finished 10 points ahead of Stroud (36-26).
And in D-grade, a hat-trick of tries to centre Bradley Johnston and a double to No.6 Ben Trappel helped Clarence Town to a comfortable 44-16 advantage over winless Woodberry while Abermain drew level with Hinton (8) on the ladder courtesy of a 32-24 result away on Sunday.
Karuah and Williamtown were the other winners in D-grade on the weekend.