East Wagga-Kooringal tightened their hold on second spot with a 17.10 (112) to 7.6 (48) win against Barellan at Gumly on Saturday.
A week after struggling to hit the scoreboard at Marrar, the Hawks were on fire early with six goals to none in the opening quarter and then responded in the third term after Barellan loomed large.
They kicked 10 second half goals to seal a 64-point win with forward Ben Cadzow enjoying his biggest day out this season, kicking six goals.
"We started really well which was pleasing but we probably went away from that for about 10 minutes (in the second quarter)," EWK coach Matt Hard said.
"To Barellan's credit, they won a few clearances, played direct and kicked a few but I was happy with the way the boys responded in the third quarter.
"We got it back on our terms, got some good momentum going forward and linked up pretty well so that gave us some good scoring opportunities."
The Two Blues kicked four goals to one in the second term but they'll be sick of the sight of Harry Fitzsimmons who turned in another big game for EWK after a dominant game at Barellan earlier this year.
Alex Rogers also had a big say in the game while forward Ryan Bourne continued his strong season and Hard was rapt to get away without any new injuries in a Hawks team that welcomed back Brenton Roberts and Jarrod Turner.
Luke Cuthbert and Kyle North-Flanagan also played strongly.
Former Barellan coach Will Overs kicked two of their goals while Sean Ellis and Ben Cleaver led their efforts and the workhorse Shaun Bourchier also dug in all day. And Jack Hillman kicked a goal in seniors, having also kicked their only goal in a tough day out for the twos.
The Hawks are second on the ladder and, provided they win at least one game against the Northern Jets and Charles Sturt University, they won't be dislodged.
"Every week we've got to keep improving, and we do need to lift (before finals)," Hard said.
"The Jets are going to be coming off a loss and over there it's always tough. We'll hopefully have a good week on the track and work on the areas we need to improve on."
EWK 6.1, 7.2, 13.7, 17.10 (112)
Barellan 0.1, 4.2, 6.2, 7.6 (48)
Goals: (EWK) Benjamin Cadzow 6, Alexander Rogers 2, Brocke Argus 2, Ryan Bourne 2, Jeremy Piercy 1, Daniel McCarthy 1, Kade Rowbotham 1, Jarrod Turner 1, Ben Absolum 1; (Barellan) Will Overs 2, Sam Foley 1, Matthew Wells 1, Marcus Lawrence 1, Emerson Cody 1, Jack Hillman 1
Best: (EWK) Harry Fitzsimmons, Alexander Rogers, Ryan Bourne, Max Tiernan, Benjamin Cadzow, Ben Absolum; (Barellan) Sean Ellis, Ben Cleaver, Shaun Bourchier, Mitchell Hawker, Oliver Delves.
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