Marrar forward James Lawton had kicked 77 goals this season and, before Saturday, never less than two in a game. But his 78th was perhaps his most savoured.
Lawton was off with an ankle injury for most of the Bombers' top-of-the-table clash with East Wagga-Kooringal but came back on for 10 minutes late in the game at Langtry Oval and kicked the last goal to seal the 6.6 (42) to 3.9 (27) win.
"It was great. It felt good off the boot but it was just great to get back out there and try to help us over the line... sitting on the bench for three quarters watching was just the worst feeling," Lawton said.
His nagging to return to field was finally allowed when Dayne Hancock went off holding his knee 10 minutes into the last term.
"I loved it. When I went back out on the ground, I wanted the ball and I wanted to be taking that shot so it was good to get in my hands," Lawton said.
The Bombers virtually sealed the minor premiership with their 10th straight win opening up a two-game break on the second-placed Hawks, with just three rounds to go.
In a low-scoring struggle of a game, Lawton's was one of three last-quarter goals for Marrar, with Jack McPherson putting them back in front in the 11th minute and Cane Graetz making it an eight-point lead in the 17th minute.
The winning team had only kicked one goal a quarter for the first three quarters, and were down by four points at three-quarter-time with the Hawks looking like taking control.
"We were challenged for most of the game, to be honest with you," Marrar coach Shane Lenon said.
"It was an arm-wrestle, don't worry about that. It was a character building win I thought. We were placed under pressure and they had all the momentum going into three-quarter-time.
"But we regrouped, stayed positive, talked about one or two areas we needed to improve and they ran out the game really strongly. It was a good win in the finish."
EWK's problem was that they only kicked one goal in the first 65 minutes of football, despite having their own fair share of time in control, and none in the last term.
They had come to play and were on top early, with Ryan Bourne getting a reward for their efforts after a great mark in the seventh minute.
But the Hawks' next goal wasn't until time-on in the third term when Alex Rogers made the most of a mark.
A minute later, Bourne kicked another beauty after a 50-metre penalty put him just within range, and with his second goal, he put his team in front for the second time.
"I thought our last quarter was really good. We thought our way through situations better, we used the ball a little bit better and we ran the game out well," Lenon said.
"I've said it before, you can run games out when you do the work and you prepare the right way. And they're a close-knit bunch, it means something to them, they stick together and they certainly rose to the challenge in the last quarter."
The Hawks looked like taking full control just after half-time but couldn't build scoreboard pressure, with four behinds in a row in the first 10 minutes.
Marrar went down the other end and Toby Lawler soccered one through off the ground. It was his second, after kicking the only goal of the second term with a determined effort running through traffic.
The Hawks then closed out the third quarter superbly but were unable to take that momentum into the fourth.
"It was very disappointing from our perspective. We probably didn't get the game on our terms I suppose so it was pretty frustrating from that perspective. We weren't playing well but we were still in the contest," EWK coach Matt Hard said.
"They got a few late which was enough to get them over the line. We're disappointed but we'll roll the sleeves up and aim to get better."
The Hawks were without a key target forward with Jarrad Boumann (hamstring) and Nick Hull (knee) out. Boumann has only played five games this year - and only one since they met Marrar 10 weeks ago. Hull hasn't played for four weeks.
Kicking 3.9 was a return to bad old habits.
"I think we had control at various stages and didn't capitalise. Our scoring's not up to scratch, our accuracy's not up to scratch," Hard said.
It was EWK's first loss in eight games, having beaten every other team in the comp since their last loss to Marrar.
Marrar 1.4, 2.4, 3.4, 6.6 (42)
EWK 1.2, 1.3, 3.8, 3.9 (27)
Goals: (Marrar) Tobias Lawler 2, James Lawton 1, Jack Mcpherson 1, Harry Reynolds 1, Cane Graetz 1; (EWK) Ryan Bourne 2, Alexander Rogers 1.
Best: (Marrar) Harry Reynolds, Jack Reynolds, Liam James, Jackson Moye, Nicholas Molkentin, Tobias Lawler (EWK) Harry Fitzsimmons, Ben Absolum, Ryan Bourne, Luke Cuthbert, Kyle North-Flanagan, Kade Rowbotham
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