HORSHAM Demons remain hot favourite to win a 10th consecutive Wimmera Football League flag despite a long casualty list.
Seven of the Demons' 2011 premiership spent the season opening on the sidelines, with injuries ranging from damaged knees, hip spurs and a broken wrist.
- AMAZING SUCCESS
- Horsham Demons Football Club
- Founded: 1892
- Formation member of the Wimmera District Football Association 1902
- Formation member of the Wimmera Football League 1937
- Colours: Maroon and blue Premierships: 23
(1938, '60, '62, 67-68, '70, '72, '74, '76, '79, 81-82, 89-90, 2003-11)
- Home ground: Horsham City Oval
- Greatest export: Adam Goodes
"It's like the walking wounded around here,'' Demons president Laurie Taylor said.
"And it's not the middle tier players either, it's the top-of-the-line blokes.''
Reigning Wimmera leading goalkicker Dylan Parrish will undergo surgery today to repair a foot injury sustained during a practice match a fortnight ago.
The 20-year-old, who booted 117 goals last year, snapped a tendon under his big toe and will miss a minimum of 10 weeks.
"A bloke landed on Dylan's foot just as he went to take off, so his foot was pinned. It's just ripped through everything,'' Taylor said.
Top-line midfielder Josh Rentsch will miss the season after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, requiring a full construction.
"Rentchy definitely won't be back this year but hopefully the rest of them will get back and play a few games,'' Taylor said.
"But it's all right - it means we can give another kid a go.''
Taylor said the return of former Demon Paul Adlington had bolstered the club's stocks.
Adlington, an onballer, won a senior best-and-fairest at Horsham in 2007 aged 19 before heading to Glenelg in the SANFL.
"Apparently they loved him over there but he just wanted to come home - it's just the country boy in him, I think,'' Taylor said.
"A few of the other clubs threw some really big money at him but he turned it down because he wanted to play with his mates at Horsham.''
Wimmera league manager Steve McQueen said Horsham would miss its injured stars "but they're still favourites - there's no doubt about that''.
McQueen said last year's runner-up Warrack Eagles was likely to remain the Demons' biggest challenger, with Minyip-Murtoa and Dimboola expected to improve.
"All the talk is that (Warrack) will be the second runners. They've picked up a few kids from the district league, so there'll be a fair bit of unknown about them early in the year.''
Taylor said the Demons quest for a 10th straight flag was "probably in the back of everyone's minds''.
"As a club we're going for 10, but you ask the blokes that are playing - a lot of them will be going for two,'' he said.
"We blooded seven (new players) last year and there's only one person (coach Stuart Farr) who's played in all of them.
"The players have been training since late October-early November and they're just as hungry for the 10th as they were for the first.''
Horsham opened its season with a grand final rematch against Warrack Eagles on Saturday night. The Demons won 14.15 (99) to 12.8 (80).