Storm leaves City swamped

EARLY on the signs were there that this would be a good game.

Two teams nestled closely on the ladder in the Western Storm and Hobart City started the game by delivering tough, quality football, with a real sense that this could be a contest at Aurora Stadium.

Unfortunately, this only lasted about 20 minutes or so last night, before Mitch Hills' men took complete control to run out convincing 89-point winners 18.23 (131) to 6.6 (42) and lifting the Storm to second spot on the state league ladder.

The visiting team actually led by three points about 20 minutes into the first term, but then saw the Storm have 16 of the next 17 effective scoring shots to well and truly end the game as a contest.

The only downside for the Storm in this period was with its conversion as 11.5 instead of 5.11, which would have been a more accurate reflection.

City looked up for the challenge early on in what was a hard-at-it start, but by the end of the first term the Storm had taken a 16-point lead (5.4 to 3.0) and went on to put its foot on the opposition's throat in the second quarter - everywhere but the scoreboard.

Storm pressured City, locked the ball down in its own half and forced the City boys to second- guess themselves.

This in turn was reflected by some poor use of the football from the Southerners and they trailed 7.14 to 3.1 at the long break.

To its credit, Hobart City came out after half-time and showed some fight, but were simply outclassed, going goalless for the second consecutive quarter and trailing by 68 at the final change.

Rory Fairbain finally got his team's fourth goal early in the last with a classy finish on the run just inside 50, but the Storm would kick six of the next eight, ensuring it got a boost to its percentage, although the margin should have been much wider.

The Storm had winners everywhere.

Bart McCulloch was a huge presence, not only in the ruck, but all over the ground, including in attack where he marked most that came his way and kicked three majors.

However, his night almost had a premature end after hurting his knee in a collision in the second term, suffering what his coach believed to be more of a "stinger", only to come back on the ground about 10 minutes later.

Zane Brown showed class and skill around goals to kick four majors, with Alex Russell also able to have a scoreboard impact with four of his own.

Hills provided a strong marking target around half-forward, while skipper Jay Blackberry, Matt and Will Hanson, Thane Bardenhagen, Beau Thorp, Casey Young, Jordan Bennett and Lewis Richie also impressed, with that group of players doing the job in the midfield and in defence.

Fairbain (who finished with two goals), Blake Grant and Calvin Philip were among the best for Hobart City.

Post-game Hills admitted goal- kicking would be a focus at training this week, but he was thrilled with the pressure his side had put on, which he believed was the key to the large gap on the scoreboard.

"Our pressure around the ball and our defence made it so it was really difficult for them to score and every game we have played this year, win or lose, teams have found it hard to score against us.

"If we can continue to do that, and with the targets we have forward improve our offence, we will be pretty tough to beat.

"We played the ball in our half of the ground, which is a key for us and something we talk about a lot."

While Hills was happy to talk post game, Hobart City coach Michael McGregor kept his players behind closed doors well after the final siren.

The Storm (4-2) hosts third- placed Glenorchy in a blockbuster at Aurora next Saturday, while Hobart City (2-4) hosts the winless Tigers at North Hobart Oval.


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