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Foxtel Cup: Storm strikes West Adelaide

Bart McCulloch of South Launceston during the 2013 NAB AFL State Draft Combine Headshot session at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on October 5, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Big man Bart McCulloch was one of the Storm's best
TASMANIAN State League newcomers the Western Storm have stunned defending champions West Adelaide to win the opening match of the 2014 Foxtel Cup.

The Storm jumped the Bloods from the opening minutes and withstood a determined final-quarter effort to triumph 9.7 (61) to 8.9 (57) under lights at Adelaide Oval. West Adelaide is now eliminated from this year’s competition.

It was an impressive performance from the rank outsider which has now advanced to the semi-finals.


The Storm led for the entire match and held the Bloods at bay in the final term, despite a fierce attack from the home team.

The Storm were kept goalless in the final quarter but West Adelaide’s only goal from their 11 inside-50 entries came with 19 seconds left in the match.

Storm captain-coach Mitch Hills was delighted by the result for the fledgling club.

“We didn’t know what to expect coming over. We just really wanted to win the game of footy so really happy,” Hills said after the game.

A late afternoon shower that swept over Adelaide’s CBD meant conditions were slippery and it was the Storm who got away to a bright start.

Their small forwards Roy Thomas, Zane Brown and Shaun Collis were lively and creating plenty of opportunities as they surprised the hosts to lead by 13 points at the first break.

Big man Bart McCulloch, who spent time on the Brisbane Lions’ list before returning home to Launceston, booted two clever goals in the second term to extend the Storm’s lead to 29 points.

Late goals to Phil Hopton and Tom Schott (just seconds before the siren) brought West Adelaide within striking distance at the main break.

The Bloods' defence couldn’t handle the relentless forward pressure they were put under by the Storm, who had 13 players from their former entity - South Launceston’s 2013 premiership side - in their line-up.

Storm had 83 tackles for the night with Hills and McCulloch giving their onballers first use of the ball around the ground.

Matt Hanson (15 possessions), co-captain Jay Blackberry and Thane Bardenhagen led the way for the victors.

The Bloods were without key players in captain Chris Schmidt, Daniel Caire and Shane Birss through injuries.

West Adelaide’s best included Jye De Zylva, who captained the Bloods’ under-18 side last season and is a top-up player for Adelaide’s SANFL side, Ryan Dijksman and Lachlan Jennings, who was the game's leading-possession winner with 18.

Round one of the Foxtel Cup continues next Tuesday night, May 6, when reigning VFL premiers Box Hill host WAFL champions West Perth at Etihad Stadium.
 
WESTERN STORM        4.2    7.4     9.6     9.7 (61)
WEST ADELAIDE          2.1    4.4      7.4    8.9 (57)

GOALS
Western Storm: Collis 2, McCulloch 2, Brown, Thomas, McGee, Russell, Barker.
West Adelaide: Hopton 2, Watchman 2, Dijksman, Schott, De Zylva.

BEST
Western Storm:  Hanson, Hills, Blackberry, Reinmuth, McCulloch.
West Adelaide:  De Zylva, Jennings, Dijksman, Nelson.