Cardiff have moved into a clear spot ahead of the playoff pack with their win against the Panthers. Image via Geoff Robinson.

Cardiff has well and truly stamped their Black Diamond Cup playoff credentials in the race for finals in 2020, ousting southern heavyweights Terrigal Avoca with a second-half boilover at the Pasterfields Sporting Complex in Round 5.

As the AFL Hunter Central Coast Women’s competition barrels towards the midway point of its shortened season, a clear top-three is beginning to emerge.

Newcastle City remained at the top of the standings after defeating Wyong Lakes in the grand final rematch on Saturday afternoon. The Blues kept the Magpies scoreless.

Fellow ladder leaders Killarney Vale also made it five-from-five with a lopsided victory over the combined Nelson Bay-Port Stephens outfit at Ferodale Park.

Below the seemingly-unstoppable top two, a secondary battle was forming. The contenders trio of Cardiff, Terrigal Avoca, and Wyong Lakes have been slugging it out for top four spots — the ticket to the finals this year — and another key battle was fought on Saturday.

Cardiff and Terrigal Avoca are both in the hunt for a top-three spot in 2020. Image via Geoff Robinson.

The Hawks welcomed the Panthers to Cameron Park, just a single win in the lead of the threeway fight. At the end of the eighty minutes, however, Cardiff had soared eight points clear, well and truly solidifying an early lead for third.

Terrigal Avoca was first on the board on Saturday afternoon, taking the lead through just a single behind in the opening quarter.

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The Hawks hit back in the second quarter, slotting home a major and an extra behind to take a 7–1 lead. The home side kept that moment into the third, adding three more goals to the Panthers one.

Cardiff closed out the win in the fourth, peppering in another four unanswered majors to spring out to a stronger lead. The Panthers were able to add two more behinds, but the off-target chances couldn’t make up the difference.

Tayla Gregory and Eva Bailey were both chalked for two goals for the home side. Madison Smith was the lone goalscorer for the travelling Panthers.

Also in the Black Diamond Cup fifth round, Warners Bay put their first win on the board with a 72–15 win over the Saints. Maitland was able to mount a late effort in the second half, but five for Bulldogs forward Abbey Lynch had already sealed the deal.

STANDINGS: Newcastle City, Killarney Vale (20), Cardiff (16), Terrigal Avoca, Wyong Lakes (8), Warners Bay (4), Maitland, Nelson Bay-Port Stephens (0).