IT IS amazing how quickly things can go full circle in rugby league.
Down, out and expected to be competition whipping boys before round one, Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo Magpies have become competition favorites in the space of only three weeks.
The Magpies collected its third win on the trot on Sunday with a 38-20 victory over Macksville at Hennessy Tape Oval in Bowraville to remain one of the three undefeated sides left in Group 2.
Despite a torrid opening 40 minutes, Bellingen put its foot down in the second half to cross the line four times and secure an 18 point winning margin.
Brandon Costin, the Magpies coach, stated he is always happy after a win and paid homage to his teams second half performance,
"It's always satisfying to get the victory and it was a good win with some great play in the later stages of the match," Costin said
However the Bellingen coach still felt his side has a long way to go before they can start thinking of premiership success.
"We went into this match in the unusual situation of being favorites which was a first for us this year," he said.
"Over the first two rounds we won games that nobody expected us to win but this week we were expected to win.
"I think mentally the boys didn't handle the expectation well early on, yet once they started to get it all together after the break they finally got into a rhythm.
Leading 12-10 at half time, Macksville will be thoroughly disappointed to lose consecutive matches after having the upper hand at the break.
Player-coach Shayne Cantrill couldn't be blamed for thinking it was ground hog day, the hard working back rower stating that his team will need to overcome its second stanza yips.
"We only completed three sets in the second half," Cantrill said.
"It was exactly the same as last week; we had the game in our hands at the half but once again struggled to keep our composure for the entire match."
"Until we can find 80 minutes of consistent footy in ourselves we will continue to struggle."
Matt Donovan was exceptional for the away side assisting in all but two of the Magpies seven tries, while young props Callan Tapine and Jerry Key ran riot through the middle of the park.
Next week Macksville has a tough road trip to Port Macquarie, However all eyes will be on the clash between Woolgoolga and Bellingen with fans desperate to know which of these yet to be defeated teams is the real deal.
BELLINGER VALLEY-DORRIGO MAGPIES 38 D Sangster J Key C Tapine J Love-Henry R McGrady B Costin T Morris tries L Beaumont 5 goals) bt Macksville Sea Eagles 20 (J Hawkins D Pickvance B Johnson D Jarrett tries E Cowell 3 goals).
Scrums: Bellinger 8-5
Penalties: Bellinger 7-4
Errors: Macksville 10, Bellinger 7
At Hennessy Tape Oval Bowraville
Reserve grade: Macksville 32 bt Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo 18