It was a Super Saturday for Coalfields teams as the Maitland Pickers and Kurri Kurri Bulldogs had strong wins and the Cessnock Goannas pulled off the upset of the season to date beating Western Suburbs 13-8.
The Goannas ended the Rosellas unbeaten start to the season running out two tries to one winners after leading 7-6 at half-time.
Maitland made it back to back wins with a 22-10 victory against Central Newcastle at Maitland Sportsground and will face a fired up Rosellas at Harker Oval next week.
The Bulldogs and Goannas resume hostilities with what should be a Coalfields classic at Kurri Sportsground.
At Maitland Sportsground, the Butcher Boys led 6-4 at half-time, but the Pickers always looked to have their measure and ran in three tries in the second half on the back of a huge defensive effort.
Every time Central threw down a challenge the Pickers answered with a strong defensive set, backing up their defence-based win against Macquarie Scorpions last week.
Pickers hooker Jarrod Smith, who scored a try before going off late with a stinger injury to his shoulder, said it was an outstanding team effort with everyone putting in above and beyond.
"This is a win that really was built on the training track, the boys have been so committed to the cause after the disappointing loss to Souths.
"To a player everyone has put in an extra 20 per cent on top of what was asked of them at training.
"It's carried over to the field. That was a great win."
While it was a super team effort, wing Greg Morris and fullback Isaac Upton had superb individual performances.
Morris scored the opening try and had an incredible second-half effort to score disallowed.
He then pulled off two try-saving tackles to deny Central as they appeared certain to cross in the corner.
Upton was very safe under high balls from Brad Murray, who possesses the most dangerous kicking game in the competition, and turned defence into attack repeatedly with darting runs and linking up with the outside backs.
The Pickers halves pairing of Gibson and Geordie Connelly had another fine game given space by a strong effort by their forwards.
Peter Cronin was sin-binned for 10 minutes for a professional foul in the 63rd minute, but came back to seal the game with a barging try dragging three opponents over the line under the uprights.
Maitland 22: Tries: Greg Morris, Isaac Upton, Jarrod Smith, Peter Cronin, Goals: Jye Bieman-King 3.
Central Newcastle 10: Tries: Cameron Anderson, Ethan Cook; Goals: Brad Murray 1.
BULLDOGS OVERRUN LAKES
The Kurri Kurri Bulldogs overran a game Lakes United in the second-half to secure a 28-10 win after scores were locked at 6-all at half-time.
The Bulldogs planning was thrown out of kilter from the first set when Jordy Mitchell suffered a hamstring strain.
A tough, tight contest followed for the next 40 minutes with Lakes scoring first and Bulldog wing Barry McGrady crossing for a try in the 32nd minute to even things up.
Lakes scored first shortly after the break to lead 10-6, but from then on the Bulldogs, led around the field by halfback Jarom Haines and big games by Jarred Anderson and Brock Gilmour in the forwards, had the upper hand.
Anderson was rewarded with a try in the 49th minute and the Bulldogs finished strongly with three tries in the final 10 minutes through Mitch Cullen (73), Ben Wyborn (76) and Sam Wooden (77).
Goannas upset Wests
Cessnock Goannas proved big-spending Western Suburbs are not invincible with an upset 13-8 win at Cessnock Sportsground.
Leading 7-6 at half-time after a try to Connor Kirkwood and a conversion and field goal by Callan Edwards, the Goannas put in a huge defensive effort in the second half to keep the Rosellas to just a single penalty goal.
Edwards also converted a penalty in the second and a try from Reed Hugo sealed the memorable win.
Cessnock's Paul Carter and Wests Pat Mata'utia were both sin-binned in the 44th minute, but neither team could take advantage of having fewer men on the field.