Stawell’s Wimmera Football League season came to a disheartening end at the weekend, suffering a heavy 116-point loss to Horsham Demons on Saturday.
The minor premiers piled on seven goals in each of the first three-quarters before going on to defeat Stawell 25.16 (166) to 8.2 (50).
Demons coach Deek Roberts said he wanted his side to treat the match like a final because of the two weekends off it will enjoy within three weeks.
“We had to play it as a final,” he said.
“It was all about carrying in some winning form and making sure that the things we wanted to get out of the game we did well.
“With such a young group, confidence is a big thing and that will make us work hard on the track during the week and when we have a session on the weekend as well.”
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The Demons were able to kick seven goals to three in each of the first two quarters.
Roberts said it was a hard contest during the first half but that his side’s attack on the football set the standard.
“When we had the ball we attacked and when Stawell had the footy we pressured at a high rate,” he said.
“All 21 players were on the same wavelength when it came to the tackling pressure we wanted them to apply.
“When we tackle well the rest of our game and skills are on as well – it’s the most valuable thing going around.”
At different stages throughout the first half Stawell was able to create run from its backline to set up forward opportunities but Robert’s said the side’s goals often came from stoppages.
“We looked at that at half-time,” he said.
“They’d scored two goals from stoppages and one from crumbing the ball in their forward line.
“We picked up those areas to fix and once we did that we were on the right track.”
After leading by 53 points at half time the Demons held the Warriors scoreless during the third term to increase the margin to 99 points at the final change.
Midway through the final quarter the minor premiers then opted to rest some their more senior players as a precautionary measure.
“We’re pretty right injury wise,” he said.
“It was a good luxury to have in the final quarter though.”
Ryan Kemp kicked six goals in the win to take his league-leading tally to 71 for the season while Ben Hobbs bagged five.
Paul Summers kicked three of Stawell’s eight goals, while defender Jackson Dark was once again Stawell’s best.
The loss pushed Stawell to a final place of seventh at the end of the Wimmera Football League home and away season, with Minyip-Murtoa jumping into sixth having upset Horsham Saints.
Saints’ loss resulted in Ararat regaining a top three spot and a double chance final.