A DO-OR-DIE clash on Sunday will determine which team will remain in the hunt for the 2018 Wimmera league senior premiership.
Ararat comes into the match off the back of a thrilling win against the Horsham Saints last week, while minor premiers Horsham lost to the Southern Mallee Giants in the major semi-final on Saturday.
History favours the Demons heading into the preliminary final, with the team comfortably beating the Rats both times they faced off this season.
At the start of the year, Ararat coach Shane Fisher was hoping his team could play in at least one final.
Fast forward to September and the team is lining up for its third consecutive week of finals action, after finishing the home and away season in third spot on the ladder.
Fisher said he would not be taking anything for granted on Sunday.
“Horsham has probably been the most successful country footy side in Victoria for the past 20 years,” he said.
“We respect them highly and try to model ourselves on the way they go about it.
“We've given ourselves an opportunity this week, and we'll try to take it.”
Fisher said the midfield battle would be a key aspect of the match.
“We need to be strong there. And going forward, we need to make sure some of our key talls are taking marks and putting pressure on the Horsham backmen, who can be really influential for them,” he said.
“Our work-rate needs to be top-rate on Sunday.”
Fisher said he was pleased with how his charges had handled the finals pressure so far. “They’ve been terrific,” he said.
“At the start of the year as a coach I was hoping to get a final under their belt.
“This is our third, so the experience they're gaining from that is great.
“There is some belief there, and that's a thing you need with a young side.”
Demons coach Deek Roberts said his team played a lot of good footy against the Giants, but lacked a little bit of polish at critical times.
“We’re still pretty confident. We had a better week this week on the track than we did the other week with players not being away for work and things,” he said.
“We've definitely got to respect the way Ararat plays.
“They are a fast-moving, skillful side, so we've got to be pretty quick on turnovers to man up.
“Going forward, if we can get on top of clearances and get it into our forwards one-out, it's a good opportunity for us to get a score on the board.
“The boys are geared up, and we’re going to take our second chance.
“If you'd told us at the start of the year we'd be playing in a preliminary final, we'd be pretty happy with that.”