WESTERN Storm held on to beat Burnie by three points in a State League thriller at Aurora Stadium yesterday, 19.5 (119) to 17.14 (116).
It was an important victory that moved the club to the top of the TSL ladder courtesy of Clarence’s defeat by Lauderdale.
The Storm was good for three quarters and seemed to be in control of the game after quarter time, building a 24-point lead at half-time and extending it to 32 points at the last change.
But as has happened before this season it lacked the killer instinct to put sides away and nearly paid the ultimate price as the Dockers staged a final quarter revival.
With Nick McKenna dominating in the ruck the Dockers controlled the centre clearances and swept forward countless times with big man Jason Laycock providing a man-mountain target in attack that the undersized Storm defence could not handle.
The momentum was all with Burnie as the Storm appeared to stop – the Dockers kicking seven goals to three in the final term with Laycock booting three of his five for the game and Dylan Smith three.
Twice they got themselves to within five points but in the end were left to rue missed opportunities in front of goal.
A goal square mark and goal to Storm coach Mitch Hills at the 24-minute mark appeared to be the steadier extending a five-point break to 11 points but Burnie refused to lie down.
Laycock marked and kicked his fifth goal at the 25-minute mark and Rudy Barrett and Smith both missed shots in the dying minutes which could have won them the game – Western Storm hanging on for a 19.5 (119) to 17.14 (116) victory.
It was a case of the one that got away for Burnie – 30 shots to 24 for the game and 7.6 to 3.0 in the final quarter tells the story.
‘‘The boys did everything asked of them for three quarters and were really outstanding,’’ Storm coach Mitch Hills said.
‘‘But just at the end of the third quarter – one of our downfalls is that we give the opposition a bit of a sniff and switch off a bit with a young sort of group.
‘‘You just can’t do that and we got found out at Devonport when you give them a bit of a sniff and you can’t do that when you’re up by that much.
‘‘But they were playing for their season at the end of the day and trying to make finals so they had it all on the line and they came at us.
‘‘I was happy to get the four points but really disappointed with the last quarter and the lack of desire to stop the rot I guess.
‘‘We’ve got to work out how we can stem the flow because it’s happened a few times this year.’’
HiIls was one of the Storm’s best players finishing with four goals with Thane Bardenhagen the other standout while McKenna and Laycock were outstanding in their efforts for Burnie.