IT was five years in the making, but the Bathurst Giants finally managed to exorcise the Demons in Dubbo on Saturday and in doing so earned a home AFL Central West preliminary final.
The Giants went into the final round match sitting in second and knew a win would keep them there, but it meant that they needed to win at South Dubbo Oval for the first time.
That they did. After coming up short in six previous games at the venue they posted a 12-10-82 to 7-8-50 victory.
"It's a good one to win and I reckon they had their best team because they wanted the home final the next week, they didn't want to travel to Bathurst as we didn't want to travel to Dubbo. So for an end of season clash there was a lot riding on it," Kennedy said.
"It's really good for the club to finish second, it's the highest we've finished in the competition, for the last two years we've finished third and couldn't get across the line.
"They've got a lot of belief now, but it's like all the cliches now, one game at a time, put your best team on the paddock."
While Bathurst's defensive set up of Damian Cuff, Oscar Mann and James Kennedy in the back pocket, Ryan Cooke at centre half back plus Derryn Clayton and Jacob Molkentin was strong the entire match, the Demons led by 12 points at the first change.
In the second term Nic Broes, who played as a loose body in defence in the opening term, was pushed forwarded as the Giants switched to man-on-man tactics. It worked as he booted two majors and helped his side to a 5-3-33 to 3-2-20 lead at half-time.
The Demons cut that margin to five points in the third period, but the Giants finished strongly with six majors in the final quarter to finally end their Dubbo drought.
"We're lucky they couldn't kick straight in the third quarter, they kicked six behinds, but that was also just applied pressure from our backs. Our backs were just fantastic keeping us in the game," Kennedy said.
"I think man on man we matched them really well. Sam Sloan just came into his own then and kicked us out of trouble, I think he kicked five.
"That man on man really helped and so did having having some targets up front. We've really lacked a centre-half-forward, but Dylan Furnell just really stood up and took some fantastic marks.
"To have Dylan with the likes of Simon Kay, Maxy Currie and Cooper Brien up forward with Sam and Nic Broes, it was a good little forward line."
The Giants and Demons will meet again in the preliminary final this coming Saturday.