THE Burnie Dockers handed out a rugged North-West welcome to the much-travelled Western Storm yesterday.
The Western Storm had to front up to a windy West Park drenched by regular rain showers just four days after competing in the semi-final of the Foxtel Cup at Subiaco's Patersons Stadium.
It was to prove a tough afternoon for the Western Storm as for the second time in less than a week it failed to kick a goal in the opening quarter and was soundly beaten by 46 points.
The Dockers had a five-goal opening quarter while the Western Storm remained scoreless and it set the scene for the rest of the afternoon.
``I'm sure we got them at a good time as they were coming back from Perth and for six of them it was their third game in seven days,'' winning coach Andrew Hering said.
``But for inaccurate kicking we could have been a lot further in front at the end of the first quarter.''
The win consolidates Burnie's place in fourth spot on the State League ladder and promotes the team to within two premiership points of North Launceston.
``We're half a game out of the top three and our structures are starting to work,'' Hering said.
The Western Storm remains in second place on the ladder but drops another game below Clarence after yesterday's loss.
Already facing an uphill battle by returning from Perth and taking on the in-form Dockers, the Western Storm was hardly expecting the Arctic-like conditions at West Park yesterday.
The day became so dark and dim the ground lights were illuminated for the second half of the game as the Storm battled for some scoreboard presence.
Once again the Dockers looked to their experienced core for leadership with Hering rating ruckman Justin Laycock best afield and the team gaining good drive from Kade Munday, Brent Milverton and Rudy Barrett, who unfortunately suffered a recurrence of a shoulder injury late in the game.
``Rudy will have the shoulder assessed on Monday but it looks like he will miss a few games,'' Hering said.
Barrett kicked two valuable goals and was part of a hard-working forward line that was led by Nick Walters.
``They had the ability to keep the ball in our forward line,'' he said.
Hering also praised the backline for keeping the Western Storm to just five goals for the game.
Centre half-back Nick McKenna took sufficient ``angry pills'' to upset Western Storm big men Bart McCulloch and Mitch Hills and Milverton's role also earnt praise.