The Pickers picked up a 6-0 win against Wests in their fifth round return. Image via Photography by Amanda.

Isabella Mattsson has helped Maitland put their Newcastle Rugby League destiny well and truly in their own hands with the only try in a six-point win over Wests, which sent them to the top of the Blues Tag table alongside Souths.

The duel at the top of the NRL women’s competition continues to heat up, with Souths and Maitland both chalking key wins in the league’s fifth-round.

The frontrunners remain the only two clubs to avoid defeat so far in the shortened 2020 season. The Lionesses boast an impeccable 5–0 record ⁠— which they extended with a 36–6 win over Kurri Kurri on Sunday — while the Pickers have won four and enjoyed a week off to collect the two-point bye in round four.

Maitland returned off their break in the same red-hot form they’ve thrived on all year too, edging perennial title contenders Wests in a six-point arm-wrestle at No.1 early on Saturday morning.

Mattsson was the only name on the tryscoring scoresheet in the duel, with her converted four-pointer proving the difference. Outside that one chance, however, it was a quiet affair points-wise in Maitland, and the Pickers claimed the competition points.

Undefeated Maitland is forging a gap at the top of the NRL alongside Souths.

Souths enjoyed similar success at Townson Oval, though there was a fair few more points on the board come the full-time whistle. Amy Waterhouse in particular enjoyed a day out on Saturday, scoring three and kicking four.

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Alexandra Rogers added two of her own to Waterhouse’s 20-point haul, and Jordan Glanville crossed once. Olivia Warren was the lone tryscorer for the beaten Bulldogs.

Elsewhere in the NRL’s fifth round, Central levelled up their points tally with Wests and southern contenders Wyong with a 14–10 win over the Roos, and Lakes clocked up a 34–point over Nelson Bay back at Cahill Oval.

STANDINGS: Souths, Maitland (10), Central, Wests, Wyong (6), Lakes, Nelson Bay, Cessnock (4), Kurri Kurri (0).