Nelson Bay have cleared their first major challenge of the season as they continue their charge back toward the Black Diamond AFL Women’s grand final.

It may not have been the exact squad that downed the Marlins in the decider last season, but the 12.11-83 to 1.4-10 win against the Novas at No.1 Sportsground is still a very clear statement from the dominant second placed club.

The convincing victory for the Marlins came off a massive defensive first quarter as they limited the Novas’ chances and kept them to zero goals and behinds, pulling ahead to a 16-point lead at first whistle.

Erin White scored for the Novas in the second quarter, but it proved to be the only major the home side would find in the contest as Nelson Bay refused to drop their work-rate.

While the travelling squad’s defence was a key element in their victory, six goals for one of the league’s leading goalscorers – Jesse Jakubowski – was influential in the eventual 73-point margin, with an added Molly Simpson double piling on the hurt for Newcastle.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Newcastle City Stars re-took control of the top of the standings after a 252-point victory over a depleted The Entrance Bateau Bay.

Kyla Brogmus’ five-goal haul was key in the 38.24-252 score for the Stars, added to by four goals for Sabrina Kliousis, Sarah Halvorsen and Amy Morschel.

A chasing pack is beginning to form at the 20-point mark in the standings, with Wyong Lakes joining the group after a 5.6-36 to 1.0-6 win over Singleton at Rose Point Park, while eight goals from Sarah Burns for Maitland against Port Stephens put them in the mix as well.

A first half 47-point lead gave the Bombers the building blocks they needed for a win over Lake Macquarie, with Tonicah Eslick kicking eight majors and Sheldon Janissen bagging a hat-trick for Killarney Vale as they too moved into the 20-point gathering.

Adcock Park saw Gosford move into third place on the ladder, just 4 point above the five chasing clubs, with a 12.11-83 to 4.4-28 win over Warners Bay, and Ange Jones proved crucial with five majors after Svenja Mueller-Byrnes, Emily Crookes and Orana Young ran the middle of the park.

Jones (31 goals in six matches) moves just two goals behind Jakubowski (33 in seven) in goals scored for the season after her five-star performance, and remains six ahead of the Magpies’ Aleece Williams (25 in seven).

Cardiff delivered their biggest win of the season so far as they kept Muswellbrook scoreless in the 124-point win at Hillsborough Oval.

Mollie Palmer led the scoring for the Hawks with four goals, while Arizona Cross and Eva Bailey both chalked hat-tricks in the match. Claudia Russell and Minerva Bailey added a double each to the 19.10-124 to 0.0-0 result which moved Cardiff into eleventh place, leapfrogging the Cats in the process.

Terrigal Avoca received a win to keep them level with Cardiff and Muswellbrook after a forfeit from Wallsend-West Newcastle.

First published as: Marlins remain undefeated after major challenge