Storm focus on defence: Hills

WESTERN Storm coach Mitch Hills believes a focus on defence and multiple avenues to goal will give his side the edge heading into tomorrow night's State League clash with North Launceston.

Hills and his players watched the Northern Bombers play Clarence on Anzac Day in a reconnaissance mission and despite North's improvement this season, thinks his side will have its measure.

"We've been able to focus on where they've improved and how they are playing the game," Hills said.

" Zane (Littlejohn) has done a fantastic job over the past couple of years about getting a young group of fellows together and really mapping for the future and things are starting to come together for them.

"He has done a great job but I think the way we are playing at the moment and our game style should suit Aurora Stadium.

"We've got a real focus on defence and winning the contested ball and I think we've got enough avenues to goal as well and we've had a good spread of goalkickers."

Expect to see a similar game style from the Storm that was used to effect in its Foxtel Cup game against West Adelaide with a focus on intense tackling and defensive pressure and a slingshot approach in attack pushing its forwards up the ground and then running back in to space.

"It's the way footy is being played at AFL level and by some of the better teams in TSL," Hills said.

"It's new to our boys and it is a bit of a different style to last year but we have a bit of a different team and I think our boys are starting to respond to that now.

"We were really good against Lauderdale and took another step forward on Tuesday night and we will continue to try to do that.

"It's quite difficult and not pretty to watch sometimes but if we can perfect it - we have plenty of things still to work on in terms of our offence and if we can make small improvements there we are going to tough to beat."

NORTHERN Bombers coach Zane Littlejohn was hopeful his players would learn from the experience of being overrun by Clarence in the latter part of their last game.

Littlejohn expected the Storm to be fired up and on a high after its Foxtel Cup win and did not think a short turnaround would adversely affect them.

"We need to set the game up early and that's where the game is going to be won or lost," he said.

"We can't rely on them tiring late in the game and I don't think their fitness will be an issue and I'm sure they are very professional in recovery."

Littlejohn said North needed to get more goals from its forward entries than it did against Clarence.

"We've got avenues to goal and we're comfortable with that but we have to make sure we are getting that reward when we are going in and our pressure is high and it doesn't go in and come out easily.

"Our forwards need to go up a cog - they've been impressive in patches of games but haven't put four quarters together as a group and they know that and I think our captain Mitch Van Den Berg will lead that really well this week."

Mitch Hills.

Mitch Hills.

•City Park Radio (103.7 FM) will broadcast the game starting at 4.55pm.


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