The Cessnock Goannas held out a fast-finishing Kurri Kurri Bulldogs to claim their first win of the Newcastle RL season with a 22-18 victory.
The Goannas had seemingly cemented victory when young hooker Nick Lawrence crossed with 15 minutes to go to take a 20-8 lead, but the Cessnock faithful were forced to endure another nail-biting finish.
Cessnock took the lead out beyond two converted tries soon after Lawrence's try with Cal Edwards converting a penalty.
But the Bulldogs finally produced the form which carried them to within one game of last year's grand final and ran in two tries.
Only some frantic Goannas defence held the Bulldogs out, much to the delight of the big Goannas crowd who had seen their team lose their opening two matches at the Cessnock Sportsground.
The only shadow on the memorable win was Paul Carter being place on report for making contact to the back of a Bulldogs players legs in a tackle.
The contact bent the players' legs forward but did not result in him going to the ground, however, the Goannas will be sweating on the outcome.
Carter, Cessnock captain Steve Waetford, tirless forward Brendan Hlad, Reed Hugo, Marvin Filipo, Peter Wilson, Kori Barber and Joe Woodbury all had great games.
However, Josh Charles was best afield in an awesome display of strength, speed and class in the centres.
"We got a bit of luck at the back-end of the game, which we haven't had," Cessnock coach Todd Edwards said.
"I'm really proud of the resilience we showed as Kurri are a hard team to hold out when they've got momentum.
"I'm just so proud of them. We spoke about doing whatever it takes to win and I reiterated that to them back in the rooms, particularly for that last four minutes when they were under the pump
"Today a lot of things went against us, particularly early, but we showed resilience to stick at out game plan and maybe got a bit of luck go our way.
"With Kurri, you are never safe. They can always score points."
Edwards said Charles was outstanding and Waetford had benefitted from the move back to fullback.
"Josh was great, he played very hard," he said.
"Steven's a No.1, I've tried him at No.6 but he is best at fullback as is young Harry O'Brien. They are both very good No.1s so its a nice headache to have."
Bulldogs coach Ron Griffiths said he was proud of his side's never say die effort, but they needed to have that level of intensity for the whole 80 minutes.
"Part of that is about us, but honestly I think today was more about the Goannas. They were a desperate side wanting to get a win and they played like it," he said.