HORSHAM'S incredible 37-game winning streak has finally come to an end.
The Demons who had not lost an A Grade match since July 21, 2012 were defeated 34-31 by fellow top-two side Ararat at Alexandra Oval, Ararat, on Saturday.
Only percentage separates the ladder-leading Demons from the Rats, with both sides having recorded 11 wins.
Ararat coach Rebecca Skrabl said the win was a real confidence booster for her side.
"We're really happy with the way the game went," she said.
"We worked on a few things leading up to it and it was nice to see it pay off with a result."
The Rats jumped out of the blocks early, opening up a 10-goal lead in the first quarter.
It was a lead the Demons ate away at throughout the remaining three quarters, but could never completely erase.
Horsham coach Zoe Heard said the Rats came to play.
"We were very flat-footed from the start," she said.
"It was always going to be hard to come back from that."
The hosts led by six goals at half-time, four after the third quarter and three at full-time.
Skrabl, who left the court with a calf injury in the second term, said it was a game her side had been well prepared for.
"We had been planning for this for four weeks," she said.
"Coming into finals, we know we can do it now. It's something we can take with us.
"It's sort of starting to come together really."
Skrabl said defender Tiffany Boatman and wing attack Olivia West were instrumental in the win.
Goal attack Megan Shea converted 25 of the side's 34 goals.
Horsham's 31 goals total was its lowest for the season.
Prior to this match, the Demons had averaged more than 64 goals a game.
Heard said the streak-breaking loss would spark the team heading towards finals.
"The team played well for the last three quarters we're just not used to playing catch-up netball," she said.
"You can't just keep on winning and it makes us realise that we need to keep working hard to be there at the end of the year."
Heard said Abbie Avery and Jedda Heard worked tirelessly throughout the game.
Stephanie Thomson led the visitors' scoring with 17 goals.
Dimboola recorded a nail-biting one-goal win against Stawell at Central Park, Stawell.
The Warriors led by three goals at half-time, which was reversed at the final change.
The Roos held on to record a 53-52 victory.
One more win will all but assure them of finals action.
Roos shooters Billie Barber, 29 goals, and Antoinette Toet, 24, had an influence in the ring.
Lisa Fleming and Nadia Bunge were named the Warriors' best, while Liza Cook shot 32 goals.
Horsham Saints remain outside the top five after an eight-goal loss to Warrack Eagles at Brim Recreation Reserve.
The Saints led by two goals at half-time, but the Eagles proved too strong, claiming a two-goal lead at three quarter-time before winning 46-38.
Goalie Megan Werner, 30 goals, and defensive duo Penny Fisher and Claire Schulz were named the Eagles' best players while wing defence Erin Mellington and keeper Marnie Lehmann impressed for the Saints.
Minyip-Murtoa enjoyed its first win in almost two years at Nhill's Davis Park.
The Burras recorded a 43-35 win and moved off the bottom of the ladder at the Tigers' expense.
Goalies Emma Huff, 23 goals, and Nikeisha Grant, 20, were named the Burras' best players.
Coach Stephanie Jones and defender Sarah Etherton performed strongly for the hosts.
On Saturday, Horsham Saints can replace Stawell in the top five if they defeat Minyip-Murtoa at home, while Ararat will look for its eighth consecutive win when it visits Warrack Eagles.