A FORTNIGHT ago, two-time reigning premier Horsham suffered its first defeat after 37 consecutive wins.
After having a week off in the first half of the split round 13, the Demons' response on Saturday was emphatic.
They crushed finals hopeful Stawell by 58 goals at Horsham City Oval to regain top spot on the Wimmera Netball Association A Grade ladder.
The Demons led the Warriors by seven goals at the first change, before opening up a 22-goal advantage at half-time.
The hosts were dominant after the break, scoring 44 goals to eight to run out 79-21 victors.
Demons coach Zoe Heard said it was the perfect response to the side’s loss to Ararat.
“We played like ourselves again, we used our speed and came out firing,” she said.
“We tried to fix up our passing and that showed, we had a lot less turnovers, which was helpful.
“It was tight in the first quarter but then we were able to settle a bit and run away with it.”
Star shooter Stephanie Thomson missed the match with a knee injury, with Jedda Heard switching into attack and scoring 34 goals.
Jedda Heard formed a potent combination with fellow shooter Georgia Duncan, who scored 45 goals.
The Demons coach said it was one of Duncan’s best games for the season.
Keeper Abbie Wright was also strong, named among the Demons’ best.
A tough afternoon for Stawell got tougher as they lost two of their starting seven players.
Ellen Williams, returning from illness, left the court mid-way through the second quarter, while coach Kelly Cosson ruptured her achilles in the third.
Cosson said it had been a tough season for the Warriors.
“We’ve actually got more now on the sidelines from our original A Grade team than what we do on the court,” she said.
“They got the jump on us and we never really picked up from there.”
Cosson said Meg Walker and Kearnie Warren had already made the step up from the under-17s, while a number of others could earn promotion in the coming weeks.
“Meg and Kearnie will probably have to take permanent positions on the court and we’ll probably have to bring up a couple more,” she said.
The Warriors are still a chance to make finals, especially if they can defeat Horsham Saints at home on Saturday.
Cosson said it would be a tough ask.
“We’ll still be putting in the training effort, but it’s really hard to get things going when you’ve got changes to the team all the time,” she said.
A win for the Saints on Saturday would put them in the box seat to finish fifth ahead of the Warriors.
Minyip-Murtoa will host Warrack Eagles at Minyip, Dimboola will visit Ararat and Horsham will travel up the highway to take on Nhill.