After a tight opening term, the Hawks seemed to have the result in the bag when they dominated the second and third quarters.
League best and fairest Paul Sanderson was at his best, winning the ball at will in the middle and setting up teammates further up the ground with precision passes - and was voted best on ground.
Lachie Bedendo was on top in the ruck and Will Creed and Will Allen kept the Hawks moving forward, with Jesse Levesque the chief target in attack.
But after taking a 32-point buffer into the final term Centrals stopped, and the Giants began to take control.
Wade King, Mark Marriott, Jamie Dunne and Dylan Bell with three final term goals were terrific as the Giants fought back to level the scores twice in the final term, before a behind with a couple of minutes remaining put the Hawks ahead for good.
In the under 14 match Benalla Giants put in a big last quarter to defeat Myrtleford by 39 points.
The Giants were well in control at halftime, leading by 26 points, before the Saints piled on six goals to two to snatch a one-point advantage heading into the last, with Will Quirk, Mitch Botter and Josh Muraca firing.
From there it was all Benalla, however, as Rhys Goodley (six goals), Josh Hyland (five goals) and Aidan Turner led the Giants to victory.
And in under 12s College got back to its best form with a stunning 45-point win over Imperials.
The Blues were unstoppable in the first three quarters, outscoring the Imps 14 goals to one as Alex McCarthy, Hayden Sampson (five goals) and Harvey Burgan dominated play.
The Imps added some respectability to the scoreboard in the final term as Tyler Norton, James McIntyre and Alex Dowsley helped their side score five unanswered goals.