Armed with an extensive injury list and a makeshift backline for their longest road trip of the year, East Wagga-Kooringal drove out of Coleambally on Saturday night more than satisfied to have avoided a third loss in four games.
Almost as important as the premiership points, the Hawks avoided adding to their list of casualties as a big third quarter set up a 12.8 (80) to 6.12 (48) victory.
"I was very happy," EWK coach Matt Hard said.
"It was always going to be a big danger game for us so to walk away with the four points, I was very happy.
"Not making excuses but we did have a few out so to go over and get the win, it was awesome."
The Blues' bid for a third straight win at home wasn't helped by a goal-less opening quarter, but they got back on track in the second quarter, holding the Hawks scoreless to take a three-point lead at half-time.
But the Hawks restored order to their game - and perhaps their campaign - as the experienced Chris Gordon and Nick Hull took control.
With seven goals to two in the third quarter, EWK were up by 26 points and right on top by the last break.
Coleambally's cause wasn't helped by four behinds in the first quarter and kicking 2.4 in the third but they were then kept to two scoring shots in the last as EWK rolled to a 32-point win to hang on to second spot.
Hull spent most of the day in the ruck with Kyle North-Flanagan playing a good role in defence where he replaced the unavailable Nic Curran.
And a baptism of fire continued for teenager Max Tiernan. He tangled with Temora's Jacob Turner last week, and this time, in the absence of injured full-back Trent Garner, kept Coleambally key forward Dwayne Weetra to a goal, after he'd kicked 10 in the last two weeks.
"He was good, playing only his third game. He (Tiernan) was at full-back and we had our ruckman at centre-half-back so we really had a makeshift backline," Hard said.
"And Kyle North-Flanagan was very good but it was even across the paddock, that was the most pleasing thing."
Forwards Chris Ladhams and Chris Jackson both kicked three goals, the former despite copping a head knock early in the game.
Blues midfielder Curtis Steele had plenty of ball for the home side while Graham O'Connell had a strong game and kicked two goals.