THE talent within the Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League Women's 11s was never more evident than it was on Friday night.
With all sides scrambling for crucial wins in the lead-up to the upcoming finals, the action was fast and furious at Singleton's Pirtek Park.
The undefeated Merriwa Magpies and Murrurundi Mavettes went hammer and tong at each other, with the former prevailing 10-0, while the Muswellbrook Ramettes upset the Aberdeen Tigers 16-12 in a thriller.
The Singleton Greyhounds moved into third spot on the ladder, via a 10-0 triumph over the Scone Thoroughbreds.
"They were three cracking games, especially the one between Merriwa and Murrurundi," Group 21 secretary Jane Walmsley said.
"That was a real hit 'em hard, knock 'em down affair.
"Both the Magpies and Mavettes produced great defensive efforts in a scoreless second half.
"But, there were no big scorelines in any of the fixtures.
"It was probably the most well-matched teams we've seen to date."
The Tigers appeared certain to secure win number two on the trot when they led the Rammettes 12-0 at the break, courtesy of tries to Robyn Draper and Harmony Liddell.
Draper backed up with two conversions.
However, Muswellbrook responded in the best possible fashion.
Krystal Saunders, Ngaomi Stone and Dahlia Tahu touched down, with Tahu also booting a couple of goals, to steal the victory 16-12.
In the feature clash, Merriwa enjoyed a handy 10-0 advantage at the interval.
Gaynor Blackadder and Charlie Carrall posted four-pointers with Lucy Prudden landing one conversion.
Murrurundi attacked vigorously in the second stanza, but to no avail.
In the final outing, Singleton, reeling following a 12-4 loss to Aberdeen, made amends against Scone.
After the scores were locked at 0-all at half-time, the Greyhounds eventually lifted.
Tyler Kersley and Micaela Merrick dived over the tryline, while Amber Russell kicked a goal in the 10-0 result.
With the Magpies destined to clinch top spot, the showdown between the Mavettes and Greyhounds at Scone Park on November 8 should decide who joins them in the decider the following week.
The round five encounters kick off from 6.30pm.
Round four results
MUSWELLBROOK RAMETTES 16 (Krystal Saunders, Ngaomi Stone, Dahlia Tahu tries; Tahu 2 goals) defeated ABERDEEN TIGERS 12 (Robyn Draper, Harmony Liddell tries; Draper 2 goals)
MERRIWA MAGPIES 10 (Gaynor Blackadder, Charlie Carrall tries; Lucy Prudden goal) defeated MURRURUNDI MAVETTES 0
SINGLETON GREYHOUNDS 10 (Tyler Kersley, Micaela Merrick tries; Amber Russell goal) defeated SCONE THOROUGHBREDS 0
Competition points: Merriwa Magpies 8, Murrurundi Mavettes 6, Singleton Greyhounds 4, Aberdeen Tigers 2, Muswellbrook Ramettes 2, Scone Thoroughbreds 0