A loss to the Bombala Blue Heelers has put a punishing dent on the Merimbula-Pambula Bulldogs' early supremacy this season.
The Bulldogs now slip to a two-and-two tally in the top grade after four rounds following a gutsy 16-6 loss to the Blue Heelers.
A Brett Hodak try within three minutes of kick off set the tone for play at the Bombala Showground on Sunday.
The Blue Heelers never took control of the game though as the Bulldogs are renowned for their gritty determination and the weekend was no different.
The Dogs battled for every metre on the ground, but opportunities for the visiting Merimbula-Pambula club were just fewer than those earned by the Blue Heelers to limit scoring at either end.
Blake Robinson scored just before drinks out of dummy half and then his successful conversion of a Bailey Jones try 10-minutes later established a 16-0 lead for the Blue Heelers in the opening half.
The second half became a hard slog and war of attrition with Bulldogs playing coach Daniel Cronk finding the line in the 60th minute and Corey Schafer adding the two with the kick.
Outside of that solitary try the second half played out as a scoreless arm wrestle between the two clubs as the Blue Heelers ultimately grinded away defensively to hold the advantage and claim the 16-6 win.
Earlier the hosts had secured a 26-0 win in the under 18s and a punishing 70-0 scoreline in the league-tag women's contest.
For the under 18s the Blue Heelers had fired out of the gate to take charge with a 20-0 lead by half-time, but the Bulldogs found their strides to limit the hosts to just a single try in the second half.
However, the visitors could not capitalise on the few scoring options they had on the day.
in the women's clash and understrength Bulldogs outfit was overwhelmed by one of the competition's strongest ladies rosters.
Bombala centre Georgie Clarke and utility-kicker Logan Crotty posted multiple tries alongside forward Karter Hampshire as the club flew to a 44-0 lead by the break and continued the devastating scoring in the second half.
In other results from the weekend, the Bega Roosters were handed a 52-10 loss by the Tathra Sea Eagles in a gritty and physical clash that left Bega's Todd Ingram with an ankle injury and Darnell Andy with a broken leg.
Connor Carr was a shoe-in for man of the match after a three-try opening half that led the Sea Eagles to a 24-0 lead by the break with Adam Blacka also adding a try to the scoreline down the left edge for the hosts. This weekend the Dogs host Eden.