Western Suburbs have put one hand on the minor premiership but the race towards the Newcastle Rugby League finals was blown wide open after Sunday's other results.
Wests easily accounted for Souths 36-16 in their top-of-the-table clash while just five points separate the remaining six teams on the competition ladder after Macquarie kicked a late field goal to beat Lakes 13-12 and Cessnock fought back for a 30-all draw with Central.
Saturday saw Maitland edge out Kurri Kurri 19-16.
This means Wests (20) have opened up a six-point lead to Souths (14) at the top of the overall standings with four regular rounds and a few catch-up games remaining.
Coalfields trio Maitland (12), Cessnock (11) and Kurri (10) still round out the top five but Macquarie, Lakes (8) and last-placed Central (7) are all in contention to make the play-offs in 2019.
It creates a scramble towards the finals series, which start on August 31, but Wests have put themselves in a strong position and can't miss the semis like they did last year for the first time since 1979.
'We knew we had Souths twice in the space of a month and we've got Cessnock, who only rolled us a few weeks ago," Wests coach Matt Lantry said.
"We've got a few big weeks ahead of us so it was good to get that win on the board and create a gap between us and second."
Wests dominated the opening 60 minutes of Sunday's encounter with Souths at Harker Oval, leading 24-4 at half-time and extending their advantage to 32 points by the hour mark.
Rosellas trio Blake Andrews, Malu Fiu and Ryan Walker all crossed for doubles.
Wests five-eighth Chad O'Donnell was given 10 minutes in the sin bin for a professional foul early in proceedings.
Souths were missing props Luke Higgins and Cameron King to injury.
Elsewhere and Matt Simon was the hero for Macquarie at Lyall Peacocok Field, slotting a 20 metre field goal in the 79th minute to break the deadlock with Lakes.
The Scorpions had led 16-0 at the interval before the visitors scored 16 points of their own in the second half.
"He's the kid that keeps on giving [Simon]," Macquarie coach Adam Bettridge said.
"This gives us a real shot now [at making the semis]."
The Goannas scored three tries in the space of six minutes late in the piece at Cessnock Sportsground, turning around a 30-12 deficit and splitting the points with Central.
Cessnock are fourth and Central stay last by a point.
And 24 hours earlier at Maitland Sportsground the Pickers came from 12-6 down to eventually beat Kurri by three. moving to outright third on the table.
Meanwhile, CRL Newcastle has moved within one win of a grand final appearance in the NSW Women's Premiership following a 22-12 win over the North Sydney Bears at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday.
LADDER: Wests 20; Souths 14; Maitland 12; Cessnock 11; Kurri 10; Macquarie, Lakes 8; Central 7.