Avondale coach James Patrick claimed the Wombats were lucky to still be undefeated after Saturday's come-from-behind 18-15 win over University at Gerry Cappetta Oval.
Uni followed their game plan to the letter, extending a 10-3 half-time lead to 15-3 midway through the second half.
The Wombats gradually chipped away at the deficit, pulling to within four points after a try and penalty goal.
The Mallee Bulls kept their noses in front for all but the final minute of the top-of-the-table showdown before Avondale broke the visitors' hearts with a converted try at the death.
"We were a bit lucky," Patrick said.
"Uni played really well and they probably deserved it in the end. They were very dominant. Their forwards were strong. It was one we definitely got away with, but you hang in there long enough and good things come your way I suppose."
Despite the loss, the Bulls kept hold of second spot after securing an important bonus point.
Uni lost 24-16 to Avondale earlier in the season and were keen to make a statement to the competition leaders.
But while they didn't get what they came for, the Bulls earned a load of respect.
"They were the better team on the day, certainly for 70 minutes," Patrick said.
"There was some beautiful touches of the ball by [Uni playmaker] Leon Mason. We know what he can do because he was with us last year, and he was brilliant.
Patrick believes the last-minute triumph will keep the Wombats on their toes.
"Staying unbeaten could be a good thing, it could be a bad thing, but after today I don't think the boys will be taking anything lightly," he said.
Kiama claimed their sixth win of the season but were forced to do it the hard way, narrowly overcoming a stubborn Tech Waratahs 22-21 at Kiama Showground.
Reigning premiers Camden jumped a spot to third with a comfortable 47-10 defeat of Bowral, while the Woonona Shamrocks stayed in top-four contention with a 27-12 road win over Shoalhaven.