LADDER leader Tongala was dealt its second consecutive loss for the season on Saturday, falling to Barooga by 28 points.
The result opens up the race for the minor premiership, with the Blues, Hawks and Mulwala even on points.
Both Tongala and Barooga went into the match undermanned, with Adrian Bonaddio the key absentee for the Hawks.
Half-back Matthew Demaio stepped into his shoes with ease though, relishing in his new forward role to boot eight goals in a satisfying win for coach Leigh Ramsdale on home turf.
“I thought we had them covered for most of the game but they kept coming,” Ramsdale said.
“After getting touched up a bit through the midfield by Rumbalara last weekend, I thought the way we responded across the ground was really positive.”
Ramsdale was pleased the Hawks were able to grind out a win in the absence of several key players, a sign of the club’s developing depth.
“We’ve tried to develop that depth throughout the club over the past few years, so to see it in action on the weekend was really satisfying,” he said.
“We had wins in all four grades; I have no doubt that the club is moving in the right direction.”
Lowly Congupna provided the upset of the season so far, stunning the in-form Echuca United.
The Eagles forfeited a two-goal lead in the final quarter to lose by 10 points, making that their fourth loss for the season, while granting Congupna its second win for the year.
Lee James kicked nine goals as Mulwala continued its impressive run of form with a 31-point victory over reigning premier Rumbalara at Lonsdale Reserve.
The Lions were two points down at the last change but roared home with seven goals to two to earn their share of the ladder lead.