WESTERN Storm faces a crucial State League match against Burnie today at Aurora Stadium and a victory could see it take over top spot on the ladder.
The Storm trails ladder-leader Clarence by a handful of percentage points but the Roos face an equally challenging assignment against Lauderdale at home.
Burnie is battling to retain fifth spot and a place in the finals with tough games against the Storm and Clarence to come and Launceston in the final round.
‘‘It’s very tight at the top of the ladder and both clubs are vying for a finals position and want to finish as high as they can and stay clear of the log-jam,’’ Western Storm coach Mitch Hills said.
‘‘From our point of view, it is a hugely important game and we owe Burnie one after our last performance against them when they probably beat us convincingly in all areas after returning from our last Foxtel Cup match.
‘‘We’re pretty keen to get them back on the big ground and continue our good form from the weekend.
‘‘They play us and Clarence next week so they have two huge games and every game for us now is important.
‘‘We’ve made clear we want to finish in a top-two position and we’d like that to be top spot so if we are to get there this is a must-win game and we’re treating it very seriously.’’
Hills said his side’s form had been good in beating Hobart City last week especially in the second half where the boys were able to have things on their terms and play some good football.
With some players set to return this week, the Storm should have close to a full list available and Hills was hopeful of fielding a strong team against the Dockers.
‘‘We’re hoping to get Tim Jones back from the Mariners this week. Haydn Smith missed last week and Chris Taylor should be back as well and we’re still sweating on Cody Thorp to see how he pulls up on Thursday,’’ Hills said.
‘‘I guess you have to get your match-ups right against Burnie with their big guns but I’m really happy with the way we played the Aurora ground on the past two occasions against Clarence and North and were able to win both those games.
‘‘Our game plan does work and we hope to continue that on Saturday.’’