BERRY Magpies and Nowra-Bomaderry Jets have made big steps towards a semi-final spot in the VB South Coast Group 7 Rugby League competition.
The first grade premiership moves into its second half of the regular season after last weekend's 11th round of the competition.
With several players either missing or backing up from the Southern Stars 38-36 Country Championship semi-final win at Wyong, the Magpies and Jets were probably the greatest beneficiaries.
The Magpies downed fierce rivals Gerringong, while the Jets scored a late converted try to draw with undefeated competition leaders Warilla-Lake South.
The 30-16 win was particularly sweet for the Magpies as it is the first time they have beaten the Lions in recent years.
It also marked their third straight win and with the bye next weekend, may well see them inside the final five by next Sunday night.
The Lions, minus injured five-eighth Pat Cronin, scored early, but trailed 18-8 at half-time.
They managed to get the first four-pointer of the second half, but in the end even though the final try tally was just five to four, the 14-point margin was probably a fair indication.
The thrills continued at Bomaderry, where the Jets pushed the Gorillas all the way before both sides had to be happy with one competition point.
The sides scored six tries apiece, speedster Mark Brandon extending his lead at the top of the top try-scorers list with a hat-trick, while goal-kicking again proved to be a problem for both sides.
Shellharbour City Sharks made the most of Jamberoo Superoos losing second-rower Simon Maslanka, who was sent off in the 30th minute, to rebound to the winners' list.
With both teams well below full strength, the Sharks led 8-4 when Maslanka was given his marching orders for alleged remarks to a touch judge.
The home side went on with the job, highlighted by a hat-trick on debut from Kurt Field.
Albion Park-Oak Flats moved out of last place on Saturday, coming from behind 18-6 midway through the first half to down Port Kembla Blacks 36-28. Highlights in the second half were doubles by captain Dean Gray and second-rower Kurt Holloway.
Kiama Knights opened up a five-point advantage between themselves and equal fourth-placed Gerringong and Jets with a 21-14 come-from-behind victory over Milton-Ulladulla Bulldogs.
The Knights trailed 14-0 in the first half and clinched the vital win with a late field-goal and converted try to Marc Laird.