HORSHAM has reversed its fortunes from this time last year, securing a nail-biting nine-point win over Warrack Eagles at Horsham City Oval.
In last year's season opener between the two sides, it was the Eagles who got up by eight points, and Demons co-coach Jordyn Burke said the win was a sign of his side's progress.
"It's a great way to start the year," he said.
"Last year we went down by a similar margin, so this year it's good to see development of the side that in these tough games we can get through.
"It could've gone either way, it was a really good game of footy."
Nick Pekin was the star for the Demons, kicking five goals to be named in the best alongside Rhona Conboy and Sean Christopher.
Burke said the Demons made their move in the third term after trailing by 17 points at half-time.
"It was a sort of physical, hard game and both sides were a bit scratchy," he said.
"We set the win up in the third quarter and in the last quarter it was fairly evenly poised.
"Once we went man on man and won a few more clearances that set us up, we had better usage up forward and Nick Pekin got on the end of a few."
Eagles coach Tim Inkster said it was a disappointing result - continuing a trend of his side fading out of games.
"It was a close game but it was disappointing from our point of view," he said.
"When we go about it the way we want to it does work we play some good footy and can control games at times.
"The way we went about it in the first half is how we expect to play - if we did that for long enough it would've been a positive.
"Our inability to do that for long enough is what's killing us."
Inkster said it was great to see Jeremy Clayton - a SANFL Magarey Medallist - don his home club colours in a cameo performance, while Jake Peters, Ben Harrison and Jarred Martin were named among the Eagles' best.
North Ballarat VFL-listed forward Jesse Murphy slotted three goals, with Inkster and Peter Weir chipping in with two each - but the potent Eagles forward line could only manage two goals in the second half.