ARARAT has bowed out of the Wimmera league finals series after falling to minor premiers the Horsham Demons on Sunday.
The Demons were simply a class above their opponents in the first half, clearing the ball out of the middle with speed and making the most of scoring opportunities.
It took a little while for them to bag their first major in the opening quarter, but once they did the floodgates opened.
Ararat started to come into the game in the final five minutes of the quarter and kicked a goal, but the Demons were well on top and went into quarter-time up 31 to 8.
The Demons scored four goals in succession in the second quarter to tighten the screws on their opponents.
The Rats finally managed a major against the run of play to pull the margin back to 42 points, and things were looking up.
But as they did all match, Horsham responded quickly and notched their 10th goal of the afternoon.
The Rats had some good passages of play, but the Demons were on top across the ground.
Another couple of goals to Horsham followed before Ararat bagged their third of the match nearing half-time.
A fourth goal before the siren had them trailing the Demons 28 to 75 at the main break.
The Rats put on a much better display in the third quarter and stayed with Horsham, with both teams kicking two goals apiece in the first 10 minutes.
Ararat got another to keep some hope of a miraculous comeback alive, but again the Demons replied swiftly to dent their hopes. The three-quarter-time siren sounded a 45-point lead to Horsham.
The Rats again put up a fight in the fourth quarter to keep the Demons from pushing out the margin, but it was too little, too late.
Ararat coach Shane Fisher said he was pleased with the way his team fought on after half-time.
“We don't want to hold our hats on good second halves, but we did change a few things up and it got us back in the game a little bit,” he said.
“At half-time our younger group were on their knees really, and we had some concerns it might have been a huge blowout.
“But they had resolve to fight out the game.
“I’m proud of the boys. It’s been a very maturing year for us and we challenge ourselves to be better in 2019.”
Demons coach Deek Roberts said his team’s pressure in the first half set up the win.
“We set ourselves during the week to make amends, and went through a lot of things that we didn’t do right against Southern Mallee. We got our footy back on track,” he said. “We know pressure sets our game up. Once we get that going, our forwards and defenders get on top and we get the game on our terms and run the footy.”
Roberts said he was pleased his team was able to respond and keep applying the pressure when the Rats came back at them in the second half.
“That third quarter, I was more pleased with that than some of the others,” he said.
“They went at us with everything and we broke even in the quarter, and it allowed us to set up the last quarter and kick a few easy ones at the end.”