STAWELL Westlift Warriors know they are capable of playing a high level of football after taking on a powerful Horsham Demons in the Wimmera Football League.
Stawell went into the match as underdogs, having won just two games for the season, but their early intent and endeavour around the contest impressed their supporters.
A couple of injuries early in the second half hampered Stawell's intensity and rotations.
With no one left on the bench, Stawell was unable to sustain the level of football they played at in the first half.
Coach Brad Cassidy praised the efforts of his young football team.
"That first half was really good. We know what we are capable of now," Cassidy said.
"It's the best football we have played all year. To be able to do that against the league's best is a credit to the boys."
Stawell was down by just four goals at half time and had plenty of opportunity to be even closer.
"A couple of times we turned the ball over and they scored from our mistake," Cassidy said.
"Had we been able to score off them it might have been a different score at half time."
Without individualising Cassidy was impressed by everyone in the opening half.
"Without saying this player was better than that player the younger players backed up and performed really well," Cassidy said.
"Each player stepped up and played their role in that first half. I certainly reinforced that at half time."
Under 17 players that played in both matches included Sam Williams, Michael Hackwill, Ben Taylor and Jarrod Illig.
With ankle injuries to Mitch Olafsen, Liam Scott and Ben Taylor the wheels began to fall off.
Olafsen had done a good job on power forward Sean Christopher for the best part of three quarters. With him going down, a change in structure was inevitable.
Christopher finished with eight goals, while Nic Pekin, who kicked ten against Stawell earlier in the year, kicked six from the midfield.
Pekin looked to be in a league of his own and would be a deserving winner if he was to be crowded the Toohey Medallist this season.
Brenton Potter finished with four goals to lead the way for Stawell.
In the final quarter, the Demons were able to kick 9.8.62 which was one point more than Stawell's overall total.
Stawell finished 114 points behind Horsham.
The final score was 26.13.175 to Stawell's 9.7.61.
Cam Kimber was Stawell's best player followed by Zac Marrow, Aidan Potter and Todd Mathews.
"Without taking anything away from Horsham, Stawell will take confidence from their first half," Cassidy said.