A lot can change in a year, and the Southern Mallee Giants made that clear with an emphatic 57-point win against Horsham.
Last season's grand finalists traded blows early and looked set to play out a tight affair, with only nine points separating the two sides at half-time.
But, the visitors had other ideas and ran away with the game thanks to a blistering second half performance.
The Giants kicked nine goals in the final two quarters and limited Horsham to only 12 points, setting up a 15.14 (104) to 7.5 (47) victory.
Giants coach Coleman Schache praised his side's consistent performance, in what he said was a demanding game.
"The most pleasing thing was that it was a four-quarter performance. It was a tussle, and both teams were in it at half-time, and it was a great second half to be able to run it out," he said.
"It was definitely an arm wrestle, and both teams were in the battle."
The game started at a frenetic pace, with the ball flying between the two ends of the field.
Josh Webster grabbed two early goals - on his way to four for the day - but Horsham replied immediately, as the Demons ended the first term three-points ahead.
The second term saw three lead changes, but it was the Giants in front as the sides went into the changing rooms; a lead they wouldn't let slip.
Horsham's best in the third quarter came in the term's opening minutes through Ben Lakin. The Demons' captain kicked a well-taken goal on the run, right in front of a healthy crowd of travelling Giants fans.
But, that was the last time the home side would trouble the scorers until the 20th minute of the final quarter.
The Giants' engine room wrestled control of the game and found their teammates at will, much to the delight of their coach.
"We moved the ball out of the midfield really well. There was good movement in the forward line too, and they converted really well today, so that made a difference," Schache said.
Aiden Yelland was the greatest beneficiary of the midfield's work, kicking four goals.
The Demons barely entered their forward 50 in the last quarter, kicking just one goal, as the visitors continued to impress.
Schache was pleased to beat a modern-day rival to secure a position in the top four.
"It's huge, especially on Horsham's home ground. It's hard playing here, and we've found that out in the past," he said. "In terms of ladder positions, when you're in the top half of the table, every game is important."
Elsewhere, a five-goal haul to Angus Martin lifted the Horsham Saints to a 29-point win against Nhill.
Ararat, meanwhile, surged late to get the better of Dimboola, 78-59.
Jack Ganley was a stand-out for the Rats, kicking three goals.
Stawell ran riot against the Warrack Eagles after both sides ended the first-quarter level.
Cody Driscoll bagged a five-goal haul, extending his lead as the league's leading goalkicker, in the Warriors' 114-29 win.
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