An admirable opening day wasn't enough for the South West to overcome a pair of shock losses on day two of the Landmark Country Football Championships, as they fell short of defending their crown to finish third at the 2019 campaign over the weekend.
A premiership defence loomed likely on day one, however, with the South West off to a flying start with victories over Avon and Peel.
The green and gold boys were flying high early as they opened their account with a demolition of Avon in a rematch of last year's grand final.
Booting the opening two goals had the South West in good stead, but Avon fired back in an attempt to get some momentum rolling.
But it was a wave of the reigning premiers from there, with Eaton Boomers spearhead Jarrod Humphries booting four goals while Hayden Yarran (Collie) finished with two as the SWFL stormed to an initial 2.3 (15) to 8.13 (61) victory.
It was an emphatic first-up win that was backed up with another powerful performance against the Peel Cavaliers on the same day.
This time the result was propelled by a stellar performance from Bunbury Bulldog Dylan Heasman, who put in continuous efforts to guide the South West.
Former Peel star turned Harvey Bull Eddy Dann was also emphatic, while Donnybrook star and South West captain Jace Cormack snared a pair of goals to buoy the side to a 7.7 (49) to 3.3 (21) win.
The result had the squad sitting pretty atop the table after day one, but a challenging day two did them few favours.
They opened their second day with a tough clash against the newly-promoted Goldfields, and despite strong performances from Harvey's Jay Collard and Bunbury's Kane Bumann, the South West was unable to come away with the victory.
They eventually went down 5.4 (34) to 3.6 (24) in the third game, meaning they would go into their clash against Upper Great Southern with a spot in the final on the line.
The South West opened the crucial clash in strong form, with Harvey's Calvin Thorne playing superbly around the ground while Jarrod Humphries impacted the scoreboard.
But the Rams kept them to just one goal in the second period while piling up four of their own, putting an end to the South West's hopes of a title defence.
Upper Great Southern would go on to win this year's carnival with a grand final victory over the Goldfields.
South West players now return to their local clubs with the SWFL season set to resume this coming weekend.