Augusta-Margaret River made its presence known with a 22-point win over Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault in the final round of the regular season.
Heading into the clash at Brunswick Oval, the Hawks were eager to gain their eleventh win of the year and further cement their place in the finals.
With the top five firmly established prior to Round 18, HBL was forced to dwell in sixth place.
However, the Lions were still keen to deliver one last win at home.
Undeterred by the fierce Lions’ crowd and chilly winds, the visitors hit the lead almost immediately.
Hawks’ star Jack Hick had a spectacular game, kicking his first goal for the clash within the first five minutes.
Play resided in the Hawks’ forward 50 for extended periods, as the Lions struggled to halt the visitors’ momentum throughout the term.
Despite their best efforts, the Lions’ backline could only watch as Hick slotted his second.
Determined to play well in front of their fans, the Lions regained composure before quarter time.
Lion Kristin Thornton’s powerful performance kept his side in the contest.
Following his and the side’s first goal, Mitchell Payne helped Augusta-Margaret River to a 3.2.20 to 1.2.8 lead at quarter time.
The second term began similarly to the first, as HBL struggled to clear the ball away from danger.
Jacob Payne notched up the Hawks’ fourth goal, before Payne capitalised on a lucky bounce and delivered an impressive snap kick to secure his second.
Taking advantage of a 50-metre penalty decision, Lion Ty Anderson kicked his first to give his teammates and the crowd some hope.
HBL’s forwards carried their side throughout the term, with Anderson kicking his second soon after his first.
Establishing himself as one to watch in 2019, Anderson went on to boot his third before half time.
After Thornton levelled the scores, two near misses from the Hawks put them in front 5.6.36 to 5.4.34 at the main break.
The third quarter started off well for both teams, as Anderson kicked his fourth and Hick booted his third shortly after the bouncedown.
With their midfielders in top form and forwards taking chances, Augusta-Margaret River appeared ready for the finals.
Goals to Hawks Brett Dobson and Thomas McDonald helped the visitors race out to a resounding lead.
Ahead by 18 going into the final term, the Hawks seemed immensely proud of their performance.
Thornton’s third goal was not enough to keep his side in contention.
The Hawks celebrated as Mitchell Gerrans and Danny Wolfenden further extended their margin.
Slotting three consecutive goals within five minutes, HBL displayed signs of the fearlessness that took them all the way to last year’s grand final.
However, it was too little, too late.
The Hawks remained in front throughout the quarter and eventually claimed a 12.10.82 to 9.6.60 win.
The result gave them plenty of motivation ahead of next week’s elimination final against South Bunbury.
Last weekend, the Tigers headed to Busselton for the Magpies’ final game of the season.
A compelling contest saw South Bunbury nab its 11th win for the year (12.13.85 to 10.12.72).
Having led during most of the season, Donnybrook picked up the minor premiership in Round 18.
Going down to the Dons 11.11.77 to 9.14.68, Carey Park finished its 2018 campaign in seventh place.
Eaton Boomers slotted into third after their commanding 16.26.122 to 10.12.72 win against wooden spooners Harvey Bulls.
Bunbury eviscerated Collie, 26.14.170 to 8.9.57, on Sunday afternoon and finished second after 18 games.