Five-eighth Cameron Davies turned in a mature performance as Macquarie snapped a four-game losing streak and kept their 2019 season alive via a drought-breaking win at home.
Davies sealed the 20-12 result over Kurri Kurri with a 76th minute try, seeing the Scorpions climb off the bottom of the Newcastle Rugby League ladder and spark celebrations at Lyall Peacock Field for the first time in over 12 months.
Macquarie hadn't tasted victory at the Toronto venue since round three last year and were forced to come from 12-8 behind after the visiting Bulldogs crossed twice early in the second half, including a penalty try.
Having been dropped from the Knights under-20 squad this week, Davies also kicked three conversions and a penalty for his club side making a personal tally of 12 points.
"He [Davies] has just got such a mature head," Scorpions coach Adam Bettridge told the Newcastle Herald.
"He plays a good hand and understands the game. Plus he's tough - he'd be lucky to weigh 80 kilograms but whenever he gets hit he gets straight back up again."
Bettridge said he was impressed with the display, considering both the context of the match and what a third win means for Macquarie's campaign.
"To comeback from 12-8 down was a good performance, but there's no hiding that our season was on life support," he said.
"We had to get a win to give ourselves a chance."
Macquarie, who led 8-0 at the main break, are now equal sixth and one win outside the top five.
Scorpions duo Nathan Cantor and Jordan Noble were put on report along with Kurri's Reid Alchin.
Bulldogs substitute Jayden Young was given 10 minutes in the sin-bin just before half-time.
Elsewhere, the Pickers mustered a 28-12 triumph over in-form Cessnock at Maitland Sportsground on Saturday with centre Marco Delapena nabbing a brace courtesy of tries in either half.
Delapena lined up there following a late positional change, which saw Frazer Price return to the halves with Tyler Perrin also out.
"It was a huge win," Maitland coach Luke Dorn said.
"They backed themselves and with so many people out, and getting beat the way we did last week, I'm proud of everything that happened."
Western Suburbs extended their lead on top of the overall standings, moving to 14 points and four clear of their nearest rivals after easily accounting for Lakes at Harker Oval on Saturday.
Five-eighth Chad O'Donnell and centre Felly McHughes, who was a last-minute replacement for injured Blake Andrews (foot), both scored doubles for the Rosellas in a 32-6 win.
Wests coach Matt Lantry called it a "dominant" performance.
The remaining round-nine fixture, between South Newcastle and Central Newcastle at Townson Oval, was washed out and has now been put back a week to this Sunday (June 30).
No other games are scheduled because of a competition-wide bye with up to 11 Newcastle players representing the NSW Pioneers against the Queensland Rangers in Brisbane.
LADDER: Wests 14; Souths, Maitland 10; Kurri, Cessnock 8; Macquarie, Central 6; Lakes 4.