The Kurri Kurri Bulldogs overran a game Lakes United in the second-half to secure a 28-10 win after scores were locked at six-all at half-time.
Jarom Haines continued his fine form in the halves, wing Barry McGrady had a strong game and Jarred Anderson and Brock Gilmour led the way for the forwards.
The Bulldogs planning was thrown out of kilter from the first set when Jordy Mitchell suffered a hamstring strain.
"Jarred Anderson stepped up for us and went into the front row and had a terrific game. He and Brock Gilmour were both very strong," Bulldogs coach Ron Griffiths said.
The first 40 minutes was tough and tight with Lakes scoring first and BMcGrady crossing for a try in the 32nd minute to even things up.
"We had a couple of opportunities in the first half that we didn't fully capitalise on and full credit to them they played the right style of football," Griffiths said.
"They control what they're doing, they play mistake free and play with a lot of enthusiasm and they managed to do that for a long period of time.
"We spoke at half-time about making sure we went set for set with them and building some pressure."
Lakes scored first shortly after the break to lead 10-6, but from then on the Bulldogs had the upper hand.
"Two weeks ago they scored in the same way, but we reset from there," Griffiths said.
"The key was our mindset we were able to stay positive and do what was required, what works for us."
Anderson was rewarded with a try in the 49th minute and the Bulldogs finished with three late tries through Mitch Cullen (73), Ben Wyborn (76) and Sam Wooden (77).
The win sets up a tantalising match against Cessnock next week after the 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 kicked a penalty in the second and a Reed Hugo try sealed the win.
Kurri Kurri, Maitland and South Newcastle (8) remain locked together in a three-way tie of second position after recording wins on Saturday, closing the margin between them and frontrunners Wests (10) to two points.
LADDER: Wests 10; Souths, Kurri, Maitland 8; Cessnock 6; Macquarie, Central, Lakes 4.