The Macquarie Raiders' path to the top five hit a speedbump on Sunday when the Dubbo side went home from Forbes with another draw to their 2019 season record.
The 24 - 24 result came in the game's dying minutes, with Macquarie taking a 24 - 20 lead after managing to convert a try and come from a narrow 20 - 18 deficit with seven minutes to go.
The result was anything but certain as the two teams battled into the last five minutes after a back and forth game of football that saw both sides swapping the lead throughout eighty frenetic minutes.
Forbes snuck in a try right on the closing bell and it was only a missed conversion from the home side that gave Macquarie a share of the all important competition points heading into round 10.
The result will create a log-jam around the fourth, fifth and sixth spots on the ladder, with the defending premiers the Magpies, the Macquarie Raiders and the Nygan Tigers all hovering on the same nine points and looking to break clear of each other next round.
The result is particularly chastening for the Raiders, who had begun to put things together and climb the competition ladder in time for the final games of the season, but had already been stalled by two draws earlier that captain-coach Wes Middleton had called 'bitter pills'.
Next week, Forbes' Magpies will take on the Narromine Jets at Cale Oval, while the Macquarie Raiders will face off against another Dubbo team, the ladder-leading CYMS, on the familiar turf of Apex Oval.