North Wagga's concerns about the effectiveness of their forward line came back to haunt them on Saturday as they failed to kick a goal in three quarters of football on the way to a 34-point loss to Marrar.
An impressive 7.4 (46) to 1.6 (12) win by the Bombers knocked North Wagga off top spot on the ladder and could have an ongoing cost for their rivals, with Saints key forward Troy Curtis reported in the fourth quarter.
Marrar's effort was inspired the intensity of new arrival Truman Carroll and completed with the class of Zach Walgers.
In a high pressure contest, the Bombers first applied it via the scoreboard, making more of their chances, and then maintained it with intensity to keep closing the Saints down.
"I thought the way we attacked the footy, the way we tackled and worked for each other was really positive," Marrar coach Shane Lenon said.
"Most games this year, that's come to the fore and allowed us to win games."
Marrar remain fourth on percentage but are level on 36 points with East Wagga-Kooringal, the Saints and Temora.
"It's a big win. The most important part is it probably keeps our top three chance alive," Lenon said.
"I reckon if we had have dropped today, it would've made it really hard. There's a lot of footy still to be played but we would've been behind the eight-ball.
"And we've still got a lot of work to do, don't get me wrong, because it's tight for the top three and our percentage isn't as good."
Tyler Cunningham's goal after just 42 seconds was the difference in the first quarter with North Wagga enjoying more than their share of time on top, only to turn it over too often in their forward line.
At opposite ends, Curtis and Walgers both kicked two behinds in the first term but Walgers hit the mark early in the second with two long range goals in two minutes.
By the time Rhys Mooney kicked their fourth just before half-time, the Bombers had only had two more scoring shots, but led by 22 and were starting to assert authority.
Walgers took a grab in the lead-up to Mooney's second not long after half-time, and then marked beautifully to kick his third 10 minutes later and all of a sudden the Saints needed seven goals when they still couldn't kick one.
It was the fourth quarter before Curtis (1.4) kicked their only goal of the day. He threatened often early, marking strongly, but didn't see out the game, sent off in the 14th minute of the fourth quarter following an altercation.
Carroll was still there at the finish, and North Wagga knew about it. He buried Ben Alexander with a tackle in the last quarter, continuing a tone he set early in the first when he lined up Kirk Hamblin.
In between, he made an impact at more than a few contests and was electric coming off half-back at times.
"I thought Truman was close to the best man on the ground," Lenon said.
"He certainly gives you that hard, tough edge and our young blokes were going to thrive playing with blokes like that. He's a true competitor, he plays to win, and he gives you everything."
Jed Jenkins was also good for Marrar as they kept North Wagga's midfield at bay while ruckman Nick Molkentin was dominant.
It was the Saints' first loss in seven games. Lachlan Steward led their efforts to stay in the contest, along with Jed Winter.
They take on East Wagga-Kooringal next, who replaced them in top spot on the ladder and who had been the only team to beat them in the first half of the season.
The Bombers will look to move into the top three when they head to The Rock to take on the Magpies who are desperate for a top four scalp after injecting hope into their season again on Saturday.
While you're with us, did you know that The Daily Advertiser is now offering sports and local events as part of its growing email newsletter service? Sign up here