Gutsy win by Storm against arch-rival

THE Western Storm came from behind to record a gutsy four-point win over arch-rival North Launceston in a hard and tough game of State League footy at Aurora Stadium yesterday.

In a contest with plenty of feeling, the two sides went hammer and tong at each other in a real dogfight, with no beg pardons asked or given  _ and in the end it was the Storm that held its nerve when it mattered to grind out a 12.12 (84) to 12.8 (80) victory.

The Storm had the better of the first half, kicking seven goals to three to lead by 29 points at half-time with turnovers and indiscipline proving costly for North.

But the Bombers fought back into the contest in the third quarter booting six goals to one to grab the lead and the momentum with Zac Burt, Brad Cox-Goodyer and Daniel Roozendaal kicking two each for the quarter.

After scores were tied up at three-quarter time, the sides went goal for goal in the final quarter.

Big man Bart McCulloch was well held in his 50th TSL game but bobbed up with three important final quarter goals for the Storm.

Dakota Bannister, Allan O'Sign and Roozendaal returned the favour for North _ but each time the Bombers got their noses in front the Storm answered to stay in touch.

It was a great goal by Jay Blackberry from the boundary line at the Northern end at the 24-minute mark that proved the match-winner, recapturing the lead for the Storm and giving it what proved to be a decisive three-point lead.

The Bombers were left to rue missed opportunities with Cox-Goodyer, O'Sign, Lochlan Young and Bannister all missing shots on goal in the final quarter. 

Blackberry finished with a game-high four goals for Western Storm as its best player, McCulloch was good at the end with three goals and Matt Hanson and Thane Bardenhagen worked hard all day.

Roozendaal and Cox-Goodyer finished with three goals each to be two of the Bombers' best along with Taylor Whitford, Bannister, Lochlan Young and Logan Reynolds who kept the dangerous Zane Brown goalless.

``It was built up to be a huge game _ we owed them one and for us we just wanted to play good footy,'' Western Storm coach Mitch Hills said.

``Circumstances didn't go our way and they ended up getting on top and put themselves in a position to win the game _ but I was really pleased that we gutsed it out and stayed with them for as long as possible.

``Things went our way at the end there and it was a season-defining game for us because we haven't won a game under those type of circumstances ever as a club _ it was gutsy win.''

Northern Bombers coach Zane Littlejohn was left to rue the one that got away.

``We went inside 50 more and we had our chances and didn't capitalise,'' he said.

``We turned the footy over a lot in the first half and even some in the last quarter _ it was disappointing and losses hurt but we can take confidence out of that.

``To be beaten by Clarence by 100 points three weeks ago to now lose by four points to the so-called premiership favourites _ we know our best footy is good enough and our structures are solid and if we stick to those and play our best we can compete and win most games.''

Western Storm's Matt Hanson gets a pass away  with pressure from North Launceston's Dakota Bannister.  Pictures: GEOFF ROBSON

Western Storm's Matt Hanson gets a pass away with pressure from North Launceston's Dakota Bannister. Pictures: GEOFF ROBSON

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