Swan Districts took a massive step towards playing in the finals this season and all but ended Perth's top-four hopes with a 37-point win against the Demons at Lathlain Park on Saturday.
Swans - widely tipped to finish last before the start of the season - moved two games clear at the top of the WAFL ladder after coming from 38 points down in the second term to storm home for an 18.15 (123) to 13.8 (86) win.
While that will be trimmed back to one match if East Perth or Subiaco win today, it was a significant result for the black and whites.
Their eighth consecutive victory in 2014 was achieved without injured captain Tallan Ames and 2010 premiership teammate Travis Casserly, as well as State under-18 players Connor Blakely and Aidan Anderson.
Ames was at the match despite not arriving back in Perth until late Saturday morning after sustaining broken ribs and a punctured lung in WA's 85-point win against a combined NEAFL team at Blacktown International Sports Park seven days earlier.
Unable to fly with Black Swans teammates or catch a train out of Sydney, Ames took the bus to Adelaide, then train to Perth after spending two days in hospital.
Ames, a veteran of 202 WAFL games, sat in the coaches box and was motivating teammates at breaks in Saturday's match.
Coach Greg Harding said it had been important to have the 30-year-old linchpin of the Swans defence involved.
"One of the things we spoke about before the game was absorbing not the loss of Tallan as a player but more as a voice presence," Harding said.
"It's hard for me being in the coaches box and 100 metres away from the action.
"When you are 38 points down in a game, you don't get back unless you work your way back verbally and with confidence and instruction.
"That's what Tallan brings to our footy club outside of his wonderful play."
Harding said another veteran defender, Graham Jetta, had taken his game to a new level in Ames' absence.
"When we needed genuine strength in the back half it was Graham Jetta consistently popping up and winning contested ball," he said
"I think he was easily in the top two players along with Tim Geappen."
Key forward Geappen was the hero against Perth with 20 possessions, 12 marks, six inside 50s and six goals for Swans.
Jetta, midfielders Blaine Boekhorst, Matt Riggio and Matt Rogers and tall utility player Tony Notte were also prominent for the winners.
Captain Paul Bevan was a standout for the Demons, playing a tight-checking game against State teammate Ryan Davis, while Mitch Morton made the most of his chances with five first-half goals.
Perth made two late changes with Joel Kalajzic and Matt Boyle coming into the 22 for injured teammates Cale Morton (ham-string) and Mitch Leyendekkers (back).
Former GWS squad member Gerald Ugle responded in the best way possible for the Demons after being dropped for disciplinary reasons with 27 possessions, three marks, three tackles and six inside 50s in the reserves.
- SCOREBOARD * SWAN DISTRICTS 2.7 8.9 11.12 18.15 123 PERTH 6.2 11.3 12.5 13.8 86
- GOALS - SWAN DISTRICTS: * Geappen 6; Rogers, Boekhorst, Jukes 2; Faulkner, Riddoch, Notte, Manton, Kirkup, Cary. *PERTH: * M Morton 5; Collard 2; Leeson, Stack, Florio, Busher, Manuel, Hunt.
- BEST - SWAN DISTRICTS: * Geappen, Jetta, Boekhorst, Notte, Rogers, Howard, Riggio. *PERTH: * Bevan, Boyle, M Morton, Busher, Manuel.
- INJURIES - SWAN DISTRICTS: * Elari (hip). *PERTH: * Irons (shoulder), Busher (hamstring), Sinclair (thigh); C Morton (hamstring), Leyendekkers (back) replaced in selected side by Boyle, Kalajzic.
- UMPIRES: * R Shelton, S McPhee, J Mohen.
- CROWD: * 3500 (approx) at Lathlain Park.