The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Wfl Finals - BY DAVID JOHNS

Wim­mera Foot­ball League reign­ing premier Hor­sham will en­ter this year’s fi­nals series as a sur­pris­ing com­pe­ti­tion yard­stick.

Pre-sea­son pre­dic­tions were that the Demons would be sit­ting at the bot­tom of the top five or out­side, but that has cer­tainly proven far from what has hap­pened.

The rea­son for the early doubt in Hor­sham’s abil­ity to de­fend its premiership ti­tle was that the Demons had more than 20 clear­ances on the books and its list ap­peared dec­i­mated.

Thoughts were con­sis­tent across the league that this year might be the sea­son that Hor­sham, for the first time in many years, wouldn’t be chal­leng­ing for the ti­tle in Septem­ber.

But the Demons have again proved hard to beat, with results punc­tu­ated by the fact the team has fin­ished mi­nor premier.

Based sim­ply on form across the year and a top-of-the-ta­ble fin­ish, Hor­sham rates as the premiership favourite.

The Demons have been the most con­sis­tent side all year, how­ever, lead­ing into the fi­nals Hor­sham’s form has been patchy, mainly due to in­juries to key per­son­nel such as John Wood, coach Deek Roberts and a va­ri­ety of nig­gles through sev­eral lead­ing se­nior play­ers.

And the ques­tion re­mains – is the rel­a­tively in­ex­pe­ri­enced bot­tom half of Hor­sham’s se­nior list go­ing to be able to stand up to fi­nals pres­sure and in­ten­sity?

Out­side watch­ers have pin­pointed that while Hor­sham’s top eight play­ers and spread down the spine eas­ily rate among the best in the com­pe­ti­tion, there is in­ex­pe­ri­ence and po­ten­tial vul­ner­a­bil­ity on the fringes.

Against this, through­out the sea­son, Hor­sham’s young crop has proven doubters, in­clud­ing me, wrong all year.

Roberts has been in­stru­men­tal in set­ting the stan­dard for much of the sea­son but he’s out of ac­tion and that has placed con­sid­er­able pres­sure on play­ers such as Brodie Mines and Ryan Kemp.

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