Warners Bay missed a shot to win the game on full-time, but still managed to split the competition points with neighbouring Black Diamond Cup rivals Cardiff after coming back from 40 down.
The Bulldogs finished strongly at Feighan Oval but couldn't land the final blow in a thrilling encounter with the Hawks. The scores finished level at 13.9-87.
The home side conceded eight of the first 10 goals on Saturday and trailed 8.5-53 to 2.1-13 early in the second quarter before landing 11 of the next 16 majors.
Warners Bay were within two at three-quarter time, kicking four behinds to Cardiff's two in the fourth term.
"We had a shot to win," Bulldogs coach Nathan Harkness said. "We should have won, we had control of the game in the last eight minutes."
Narrabri recruit Zach Lauristen and David McGuinness recorded three goals each for Warners Bay. Rowan Bilkey managed four majors for Cardiff while Michael Ryan and Izaac Hughes slotted three apiece.
Elsewhere in round three and City forward Jack Woodhams bagged seven goals as the Blues (17.10-112) comfortably accounted for Singleton (7.7-49), former Swans player Craig Bird kicked off his coaching career with a win as Nelson Bay (16.11-107) defeated Maitland (6.6-42), Terrigal Avoca (29.15-189) flogged Gosford (5.7-37) and Killarney Vale (17.12-114) got the better of Wyong Lakes (6.4-40).
In the women's competition Cardiff (4.10-34) edged out Warners Bay (5.3-33), Giants player Sarah Halvorsen landed five majors for City (29.13-187) against Maitland (0.0-0), Nelson Bay-Port Stephens (0.2-2) returned with a loss to Terrigal Avoca (9.13-67) and Killarney Vale (13.11-89) beat Wyong Lakes (1.0-6).
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