BURNIE is through to the State League preliminary final after beating Clarence by 49 points at West Park yesterday.
The Dockers will now play Launceston in a game under lights at Aurora Stadium on Saturday.
After losing their qualifying final to Launceston the week before, coach Brent Plant predicted that his players performed at their best when their backs were to the wall, and he was spot- on yesterday.
`I thought we set up the win with our effort in the first quarter against a 5-6 goal breeze," he said.
Two late goals in time on gave Clarence a 10-point lead at the first break but the wind was worth much more than that and the Dockers' work-rate set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.
The Dockers took full toll when it was their turn with the wind in the second quarter, and with proven big-game players like Jason Laycock, Nick McKenna, Luke Shackleton and Kade Munday standing up, they were able to kick eight goals in the term to break the game apart.
It was expected to be easy going from then on for the Dockers but there was to be one more twist in the tail when early in the last term the wind dropped and Clarence took full toll to kick some quick goals and get within eight points.
The home team settled, and with Laycock and Shackleton again showing their quality, the Dockers were able to kick away and win by 49 points.
Plant made some winning moves throughout the afternoon which shouldn't go unnoticed.
Several times Nick McKenna was able to float forward from centre half- back and rewarded his coach with two goals in the opening term and then another in the third.
Laycock was able to spend time resting in the forward line and showed his agility taking three high marks which resulted in goals and his fourth for the game came from a long shot on the road wing. Former Devonport best and fairest winner Claye Hardy stepped up in the second half, picking up many possessions through the midfield as well as drifting in defence when required.
"Claye set us up with some good play and he won one of our awards after the game," Plant said.
Sam Rice is Burnie's only concern after being subbed out at half time, following a knock to the back, and Plant wouldn't speculate on the seriousness of the injury.
The loss means it is the end of the season for the Kangaroos and for the third year running they have made an early exit from the finals.
The Kangaroos always appeared to be playing catch- up yesterday.
The team was best served by Nick Paine, Jeremey Webberly, Jason Bailey and Taylor Williamson while key forward Cameron Thurley, considered lucky to play in the game, had an interesting afternoon.
He had an engrossing duel with McKenna and managed just two goals for the game while at the same time his opponent finished the game with three.