Bevan Charlton-White had a hell of a birthday.
On the Dubbo skipper's big day, he had everything he could have asked for: acres of space, goals to his name and - crucially - a win over the Orange Tigers on the road.
Despite a goalless first term, the Demons ran over the top of the Tigers to record a 13.9.87 to 10.5-65 win in emphatic style.
The Tigers started on fire, with new recruit Pat Taggart providing plenty of drive out of the middle and debutant Angus Easey and second-gamer Ike Dean providing run off halfback, but the tide began to turn midway through the second quarter.
However, the new-look Tigers side - with just nine from last year's grand final lineup - began to fade.
The Demons began winning the ball out of the middle, Callan Hunt was left on his own against Charlton-White, and the Tigers' small defence didn't have answers for the bigger frames of Josh Anasis or Tom Skinner, or for the run and carry of the Demons midfielders who streamed into the forward line at-will.
The Demons edged in front during a five-goal first term and used the space created by two less men on the field - with 2020 introducing 16-a-side - far better than the Tigers.
Despite a few late goals to Tim Barry - who finished with five in his return game in yellow and black - the Demons never looked back after taking the lead, with the club ecstatic after the final siren.
"I'm really proud of the boys," Charlton-White said.
"It's been a long time coming, no-one knows how long it's been since we won here.
"We respect Orange really highly and they're always around the mark so we came over here and thought we'd give it a crack and it all came together."
He said the Tigers' "hardness around the footy" was what gave the hosts the edge early, but he lauded his troops all across the ground for rising to the challenge.
"In the first quarter they outworked us and were a bit harder and stronger around the ball but after quarter time we worked into it and got it out of the centre and that unlocked it for us," Charlton-White said.
"Normally we're one of the clubs which has a bit of top-end talent and the rest drops away but the best thing about today was our depth, we had some really good efforts and a really nice even spread."
He said it was nice to kick a few goals on his birthday, with the hard-running centre-half-forward joking "I'm a bit of a lazy key forward, I need to be kicking a few".
He did also back in Josh Anasis, who alternated with Tom Skinner between the goal square and the ruck, to have a big 2020.
"He was at the club last year and only played a handful of games and used to play key back and we wish we had two of him," Charlton-White said.
"He moved into the ruck and looked really good for us and when he was forward he looked really, really strong."
The Tigers face the Bushrangers next week in Bathurst, while the Demons host the Giants at South Dubbo Oval, but Orange and the Dubbo face off again in round three.
- DUBBO DEMONS 13.9-87 (Bevan Charlton-White 4, Josh Anasis, Tom Skinner 2, Angus Lennon, Mitch McKechnie, Bill Ormonde, Lachy Ewart, Conor McDonald 1) def ORANGE TIGERS 10.5-65 (Tim Barry 5, Mark Mori 2, Nick Modra, Angus Easey, Dean Price 1)
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