The South West Rocks Marlins produced a complete performance to hand rivals the Lower Macleay Magpies a 52-20 defeat on their home soil on Saturday.
The result was never in doubt as the Marlins raced out to an early lead and despite a spirited Magpies side competing until the final whistle, they were outclassed by the current competition leaders.
Marlins co-coach Sam Drew was impressed with his side's performance but pinpointed an area to improve.
"It was a good win. To score 52 points is no easy feat," Drew told the Argus.
"We started strong, put on a few tires and they tried to fight back but we did well to limit their chances.
"But I thought our ruck defence was pretty poor. It was much worse than last week when defence was our strong point, so that's an area where I will want to see improvement over the next couple of weeks."
Drew praised the entire team for lifting for the Battle of the Macleay.
"Everyone did their job, there was no real standout players," Drew said.
"But the halves Mal Webster and Neville Donovan did a great job at steering the side around the park.
"Forwards Thomas Donovan, Steve Walker and Jesse Meehan had a really strong game."
With the halfway point of the Hastings League approaching, Drew believes the Marlins have proven they are a premiership contender this season.
"When we first got together at the start of the season, we believed we had a side that could contend for a title but the challenge was getting everyone in the side to believe and buy in to the game plan," Drew said.
"I think we have done a great job of doing that but there is still a long way to go.
"Other sides will continue to get better so we have to do the same, but I think we are capable of making the grand final this year."
Meanwhile the Magpies, who remain the only winless team this season, are locked into the bottom of the table.
However, the season is not over for the Magpies as the league ladder is top heavy.
The fifth and final spot in the finals series is up for grabs with the bottom three sides separated by one competition point.
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