The Wyong Roos, Penrith Panthers, Mounties and Warriors sit in a four-way deadlock with three rounds left before the Finals.
The Roos and Warriors dropped their matches as the Panthers defeated Mounties to return to the top of the table.
The Panthers scored an extraordinary 30-22 win against Mounties after fighting back from an early 16-0. Despite losing several key players on first-grade duties, the Panthers were more than up to the task as they consolidated a valuable top-four position.
The North Sydney Bears consolidated their top-eight position and stamped themselves as legitimate title contenders as they captured their third-straight victory to beat the Warriors 32-22. Promising talents, Kirisome Auva’a and Cody Walker, both bagged try-scoring doubles as the Bears steam train builds momentum for the Finals.
The Canterbury Bulldogs returned to the winners' circle with a hard-fought 29-22 win over the Roos. The win ties the sixth-placed Bulldogs with the fifth-placed Newcastle Knights on 26 competition points.
The Knights thumped the Illawarra Cutters 32-16, while the Manly Sea Eagles ended the Wentworthville Magpies' Finals chances in heart-breaking fashion with a 34-20 victory. The Sea Eagles scored 22 unanswered points to overcome a 16-12 halftime deficit and climb to ninth on the ladder, behind the eighth-placed Cutters on point differential.
The Newtown Jets and Wests Tigers' slim Finals hopes are still alive after a 22-all stalemate leaving both sides with a steep uphill climb. The two sides face difficult Round 23 assignments as the Jets take on the Panthers and Wests Tigers tackle the Warriors in the FOX Sports Match of the Round.