THEY'RE sitting alone at the top of the ladder but defending premiers Wests need to go up a level if they want to be there come the end of the regular season.
That's the opinion of workhorse Devils prop Zac Blay ahead of Saturday's top-of-the-table showdown with Collegians at Parrish Park.
The Dogs haven't dropped a game since being edged out by the Devils by a single point in round four, going on a six-game tear heading into Saturday's clash.
The Devils notched an impressive away win over Thirroul two weeks after that heart-stopper against Collies, but were brought back to earth a week later with a 16-4 loss to then win-less Dapto in round seven.
Impressive second halves in their past two outings have seen Pete McLeod's side notch wins over Helensburgh and Berkeley by a combined margin of 64 points.
It's impressive form to the untrained eye, but Blay says discussions have been more frank within the Devils camp.
"I think [the Dapto loss] was a good wake-up call for us coming into the back half of the year," Blay said.
"We'd gone through undefeated and come off a pretty good win against Thirroul. It just showed if you don't turn up, even just five per cent across the board, you'll get beaten in this comp.
"Hopefully we can rectify it later on but we didn't stew on it too long. We had a bit of an eye-opening video session and then moved onto the next one against Helensburgh.
"We haven't really put a full performance together yet. Our starts have been pretty average and we're dropping a lot of footy.
"We've been good enough to get ourselves out of trouble at the back end of games and keep winning but we've got a lot to work on if we want to be a really be a top side."
Collegians have been on the same mission, heading into Saturday's match against their next-door neighbours on the back of an impressive 36-16 win over Dapto last week.
They'll also be still burning from their last defeat to the Devils on the back of a Zac Greene field goal. Blay admits his side is braced for a backlash.
"We beat them by one at the death when they were probably the better side that day so I think Fieny will definitely have them ready to go," Blay said.
"We've been looking forward to the games against Thirroul and Collegians since the preseason so these are the games you look forward to.
"Coming into the back end it's almost a preview for the semis so everyone's pretty excited. We back ourselves to we can beat anyone on our day.
"It is good to know you can beat those other top sides but our main focus is just getting that top two spot and getting two bites at the cherry come finals."
Elsewhere, Corrimal and Helensburgh will be fighting for their finals lives when they meet at Ziems Park.
Dapto will be looking to bounce back from their last-start loss to Collies when they travel to Thirroul to take on a Butchers side having their firs hitout in three weeks.