THE Western Storm stamped itself as a genuine premiership contender after handing State League ladder-leader Clarence a 43-point defeat in their match at Aurora Stadium last night.
The Storm's defensive pressure and tackling was outstanding as it shut down the Roos' time and space and nullified their renowned outside run and quick ball movement.
The Storm jumped out of the blocks banging on five unanswered goals in the first quarter with livewire small forward Zane Brown kicking three to help get it going.
Clarence coach Matthew Drury revved up his chargers at quarter-time and the Roos hit back with five straight of their early in the second to reduce the 33-point quarter-time deficit to one point midway through the quarter.
But the Storm stood up when challenged, kicking three late goals, including two in junk time to Matt Hanson and Brown to lead by 19 points at half-time.
The premiership quarter belonged to the Storm with a six-goal to two effort that blew the margin out to 46 points and it was never challenged from there, going on to record a 16.16 (112) to 10.9 (69), victory.
Brown was super impressive providing a masterclass as a small forward, beating three different opponents on the night to finish with seven goals in a best-on-ground performance.
Bart McCulloch kicked three goals, all in the first half and Darryn Thomas stood up with two important third quarter goals.
The Storm had plenty of good contributors all over the ground, not only from its leaders but also from its bottom-tier players.
Coach Mitch Hills's match-ups proved effective in shutting down the Roos' key playmakers _ Clinton Drake was outstanding on Roos danger man James Charlesworth, Jade Child good on Jeromey Webberley and Chris Taylor, Thane Bardenhagen and Beau Thorp restricting Brady Jones and Jake Cox.
Charlesworth finished with three goals and Trent Standen and Matthew Drury two each but the Storm defence proved solid, holding the top side to 10 goals for the game.
``I'm really pleased with the win and the way we implemented the structures we put in place and the key match-ups really turned out good for us,'' Hills said.
``It's great moving forward toward the second half of the season to get a big win like that _ a big scalp.
``We only play Clarence once in the roster season and we knew we had one opportunity to send a message to them and the rest of the competition that we are a contender _ and that's what I feel we are now.''