A SEVEN-GOAL master class by former AFL star Chris Tarrant and a six-goal supporting role by Zac Burt saw North Launceston stamp itself as a genuine State League premiership contender in smashing the Western Storm by 84 points - 19.10 (124) to 6.6 (42) - in an impressive qualifying final victory at Aurora Stadium yesterday.
The Northern Bombers were outstanding as they outworked, outran and outplayed a tired and sore Western Storm outfit that barely raised a whimper in the second half as it went down 19.10 (124) to 6.6 (42).
Tarrant was a focal point up forward and showed his class with a seven-goal haul, and he was instrumental in setting up at least a couple of others while an in-form home-grown product in Burt proved his value to the team with a six-goal return – both among North’s best.
The Storm came out fired up and ready to play with big Bart McCulloch booting the first two goals of the game and Matt Hanson prominent as the Storm onballers dominated the stoppages.
But the Bombers were able to steady and respond to their first taste of finals pressure as goals to Brad Cox-Goodyer and Burt got them to within four points at quarter-time.
Enter the Tarrant show with the marquee recruit booting two goals in two minutes to start of a second-quarter onslaught that saw the Bombers kick seven straight goals to the Storm’s two to set up a 26-point lead at half-time.
Tarrant kicked four for the quarter, Taylor Whitford two and Burt one as North wrested control of the contest with greater energy and intensity and better skills with the ball going forward.
North kicked four goals to one behind in the third quarter, with the game being played on their terms and with more contributors, to open up a match-winning 52-point lead at the last change, and went on with the job with a six-goal-to-one last quarter to record a big win.
Besides Tarrant and Burt, the Bombers had plenty of good players with Brad Cox-Goodyer and brother Andrew influential along with Allan O’Sign, Taylor Whitford and Josh Ponting.
Geoff Mohr was good again on McCulloch, and Daniel Roozendaal gave another lion-hearted effort in the ruck against multiple opponents.
‘‘It’s gets us into a second semi so I’m really pleased,’’ North Launceston coach Zane Littlejohn said.
‘‘The way we controlled the contest – we won the clearances pretty comfortably and the contested footy, and I talk a lot about having 22 contributors and we didn’t have a passenger today.
‘‘Our goal at the start of the year was to win a senior final and we’ve done that now but still have a lot of work to do, and Clarence is the only side we haven’t beaten this year and they are in our way.’’
Storm coach Mitch Hills looked battered and bruised but tried to maintain a positive outlook.
‘‘We’re very disappointed with the result but at the end of the day we were beaten by a better and fitter side, a more skilful side who seem to run on top of the ground and we’re certainly not,’’ he said.
‘‘In the second half we were the walking wounded by the end, but we’ll recover and set ourselves for another game next week, and I wouldn’t discount us just yet.’’
Matt Hanson was the Storm’s best player, with Jay Blackberry and Thane Bardenhagen also working hard all day.