First place and the 2018 Black Diamond AFL Women’s minor premiership is back up for grabs after the Newcastle City Stars delivered Nelson Bay their first defeat of the year.

It was a Stars-centric second and third quarter run that saw the Newcastle squad return to a level pegging with Nelson Bay, as Sarah Halvorsen (second) and Kristel Gavenlock (third) slotted the only goals of the periods.

Gavenlock had opened the scoring for the Blues early in the opening quarter, but a major from Lauren Hughes had put the two dominant teams back to square at the first break.

City’s 23 to 8 lead heading into the final quarter gave them the control they needed to smother a short-staffed Nelson Bay out of the game, as Halvorsen notched up her double while Stephanie Miniter scored the team’s fifth to put the match out of sight.

The Marlins scored one back through Jessie Jones, but it wasn’t enough for the top side as they were absent from the winner’s circle for the first time in 2018.

It was a testing match for both teams as they prepare for the Black Diamond’s playoff weeks, with the Marlins already missing star scorers Kaitlyn Douglass and Jesse Jakubowski, as well as engine-room commander Eliza Smyth, while City were without Paige Mathewson, Roisin Ronan-Yates and Amy Morschel.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Newcastle City Novas fell to Killarney Vale as the Bombers moved into fourth place with their eyes on finals footy in the coming weeks.

Dixie Butler kicked two for the Bombers at Adelaide St Oval as the home side ran out 6.8.44 to 3.0.18 victors over the travelling City squad, while Erin White notched a double for the defeated team.

Cardiff fell victim to rivals Maitland on the road, as the Saints marched out 11.10.76 winners over the Hawks, 3.6.24. Felicity Millen and Sarah Burns each scored a hat-trick in the 52 point victory.

It was a good result for Terrigal Avoca to see Cardiff fall, as the Panthers moved level with the Hawks in the standings – 24 points each – after an 18.16.124 to 0.1.1 mauling of the Port Stephens Power, led by an eight goal haul from representative forward Morgan Ross.

Wyong Lakes remained third after a dominant 31.14.200 to 0.0.0 landslide win over Wallsend-West Newcastle, the Magpies’ second 200-point victory in the last four rounds.

Sarah Ball and Emily Bohan, both of whom regularly play in the backs for the third-placed squad, moved forward to eight goals apiece in the victory, while Alexandra Pearce added five of her own. Grace Jarvis also slotted a hat-trick of majors.

At Bateau Bay Sports Facility, Warners Bay stayed level with seventh-placed Singleton after accounting for The Entrance Bateau Bay 28.27.195 to 1.0.6.

Rachel Evans, Samantha Lawrence and Newcastle representative captain Amy Pittman all notched five goals in the 28 major run, while Zoe Ifield kicked the Blues’ lone goal.

First published as: Gavenlock, Halvorsen double up to down the Marlins