Steady control in the late-game, a trademark style for Waratah in the past handful of seasons, was more than enough to stem Shortland’s early win-streak in the Newcastle Dodgeball League, with the Cobras confirming the 9-5 victory in the final three sets.
The clash was neck-and-neck until the final shift in momentum however, with Shortland leading by a single set at the half break, a lead they kept until the final trio of sets.
From there, Waratah’s calm and paced command of the game won out, with the Scotchies’ throwing away a five players to two advantage in the eleventh set as they trailed for the first time in the game – and for the first time since their entrance to the league.
It was a vital win for the Cobras as they move back into the top four with the three collected points, but the main benefactors of the third round victory will be Belmont – the Beavers move into undisputed top spot with their undefeated 3-0 record.
The Season 10 grand finalists have made their statement in the opening weeks of the tournament, collecting a hat-trick of 10-4 victories including their latest against Kotara on Thursday evening.
Despite disappointment in last season’s big dance, the Beavers will be happy with their response in the opening weeks of the new season – now two weeks of facing Shortland and Hamilton in succession will prove if they’re the real deal for the league’s eleventh season.
Also at Oakdale Arena, Hamilton moved into second place with their second win in as many weeks, knocking off Raymond Terrace 11-4 as mid-season recruits Benjamin McIntyre and Tiffany Thomson combined well with the rest of the defending champions.
Also on Thursday evening, Bar Beach and Cooks Hill played out an 18-set thriller, with the Cookers emerging 10-8 victors in the rapid-fire contest to leave the Boomers in eighth place.
FINALS: Hamilton and Belmont set up grand final rematch (9/11)
RD14: Waratah down Belmont in heated one-set thriller (2/11)
RD13: Shortland oust Hamilton from first with one to go (26/10)
RD12: Belmont upset Hamilton to blow first place race open (19/10)
RD11: Shortland take second after thriller against Belmont (12/10/18)
RD10: Waratah tumble into fourth place after slow start (5/10/18)
RD9: Top four teams hold off finals-hopefuls (28/09/18)
RD8: Hamilton claim first as league celebrates Ladies Day (21/09/18)
RD7: Shortland and Kotara clash goes down to the wire (14/09/18)
RD6: Waratah keep close on Hamilton's heels (07/09/18)
RD5: Hamilton prevail in grand final rematch (30/08/18)
RD4: Belmont tumble into ladder mix with defeat (24/08/18)
RD3: Waratah cuts Shortland's undefeated streak short (17/08/18)
RD2: Shortland break Terrace to continue strong start (10/08/18)
RD1: Waratah open account against long-standing rivals (03/08/18)
PRESEASON: Season 11's draw & key fixtures revealed (19/07/18)
PRESEASON: Registrations now open for NDL Season 11. (13/07/18)
GF: Hamilton extend dynasty with fifth championship (06/07/18)
SF: Belmont punch ticket to season decider with comeback (29/06/18)
QF: Raymond Terrace scores maiden finals victory (22/06/18)
RD15: Waratah confirm second place, first week bye (15/06/18)
RD14: Waratah steady the ship with key three-set win (08/06/18)
RD13: Belmont ensures the Waratah slide continues (01/06/18)
RD12: Cooks Hill and Belmont remain level with draw (25/05/18)
RD11: Waratah lose sight of first place after defeat (18/05/18)
RD10: Raymond Terrace shock Cookers in sudden death (11/05/18)
RD9: Cookers drop 'Tahs to second with 6-5 slug-fest (04/05/18)
RD8: Hamilton take revenge in Battle of Oakdale (27/04/18)
RD7: Bailey best on field as 'Tahs in cruise-control (20/04/18)
RD6: Waratah break three-year hoodoo over old rivals (13/04/18)
RD5: Hamilton reclaim first place with 13-0 masterclass (06/04/18)
RD4: League's closest round sees 'Tahs take top spot (23/03/18)
RD3: Cooks Hill record first point with 5-5 draw (16/03/18)
RD2: Sudden-death deciders see Hamilton pip Belmont (09/03/18)
RD1: Waratah-Hamilton classic ends in 6-all draw (02/03/18)