Perth’s quest to return to finals for the first time in almost two decades has started in style with a 65-point victory over Claremont at Brownes Stadium.
The Demons showcased a new brand of hard-running, high possession football and blew the contest open with 10 unanswered goals either side of half time.
Matt Moody booted four majors in the 19.10 (124) to 9.5 (59) triumph, but it was some of Perth’s unheralded youngsters that were the shining lights.
Cameron Manuel won a mountain of possession through the midfield, while debutant Bradley Keast limited the effectiveness of Sandover medallist Luke Blackwell.
Gerald Ugle also gave every indication that he will prove a successful recruit after returning to the Demons from Greater Western Sydney.
The 21-year-old provided plenty of dash off half back and was effective with the ball. He even drifted forward to kick a goal of his own midway through the third term as the lead blew out beyond 10 goals.
Claremont’s horror day was capped off by a hamstring injury to utility player Trinity Handley.
The Tigers forward line missing retired premiership players Chad Jones and Ian Richardson failed to function at all, with last year’s minor premiers only managing a solitary behind during the second term.
Key midfielders Blackwell and Jake Murphy were quiet by their usual standards, while Mark Seaby battled to have an impact.
Perth went into the contest without two of their biggest stars in Chance Bateman and recruit Cale Morton after the pair were late withdrawals.
Despite the losses, the hosts had the weight of possession in the first half and should have been further in front at the main break than 23 points if not for several lapses of composure.
Moody produced a mixed bag of brilliance and several inept moments, including being caught holding the ball midway through the first quarter as he ran towards an open goal.
But the forward sparked the Demons with three first half majors and the hosts put the game beyond doubt with seven goals to one in the third quarter.