The Greater Northern Tigers kept their Laurie Daley Cup hopes alive with a determined two-point win over Newcastle Maitland Knights at Cessnock Sportsground.
The 18s side won 20-18 in a slogging and, at times, see-sawing fourth round clash.
They now have a big match against Western Rams in Tamworth on Saturday, March 6.
"If we win that we're in the semis and have a week off," coach Darryl Rando said after Saturday's narrow win.
On Saturday, the Tigers were down 6-nil after seven minutes before hitting back to lead 12-6.
A lucky bounce of the ball gifted halfback Pichai Dixon a four-pointer and then a Harry Reid special saw the livewire hooker dive over from dummy half.
Dixon's try had turned the game when centre Corben Hampstead fielded a Mitch Henderson kick and then kicked speculatively again. The high kick bounced backwards away from the Knights defenders and straight into the arms of a charging Dixon, who broke a tackle to dive over under the posts.
Reid then capitalised on a Sam Fechner charge that had the tough lock pushed back from over the tryline.
The Knights did hit back just before the break with winger Joshua Andrews diving over out wide to leave it 12-all at the break.
The Tigers grabbed the ascendancy early in the second half after an errant pass was picked up by Dixon for the Aberdeen halfback to scurry back to the blind into some good defence but turn and pop a pass for Luke Smith to slice his way over.
Eight minutes later and Hampstead crashed over for a 20-12 lead but the Knights also refused to give in and when replacement edge backrower Harry Hore crossed wide out in the 56th minute Newcastle Maitland was back in contention.
The last 15 minutes had the two sides slugging it out with neither team able to produce a killer blow and the Tigers came up with some gritty defence.
It was their third win in four games and while they won they have plenty of work to do, Rando, who was still overcoming the loss of "fingernails and hair", said.
He was never comfortable, even though the Tigers had forged a second half lead.
"We made too many mistakes again," he said.
"We're still struggling to win.
"We've just got to be more consistent and patient."
He said some great pieces and patches of play were negated by some simple errors.
The game ball was handed to Farrer prop Mark Simon.
He was outstanding, carting the ball up with gusto all game and defending strongly.
At one stage of the second half he took the first run up from a penalty tap only to do it all again with another hit up in the same set of set of six.
Fellow prop Jake Clydsdale was also strong along with backrower Smith, who made plenty of metres and scored a good and deserving try.
The under 18s now look toward their match with the Western Rams at Farrer this Saturday.
GREATER NORTHERN TIGERS 20 (Pichai Dixon, Harry Reid, Luke Smith, Corben Hampstead tries, Mitch Henderson 2gls) d NEWCASTLE MAITLAND KNIGHTS 18 (Tyrese Edwards, Joshua Andrews, Harry Hore tries, Liam Browne 3gls)
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