PACE is what Strathfieldsaye coach Darryl Wilson believes will give his side the edge in tonight’s preliminary final against Gisborne.
The Storm made a conscious decision to inject more run into their side for the finals series and it’s worked in back-to-back victories.
The speed in which they can move the ball worried South Bendigo and Sandhurst in the first two weeks of the finals and Wilson hopes that pace will casue the same headache for Gisborne tonight.
“Having guys like Vinnie Flood and Luke Marchesi with genuine leg speed in the side has helped us a lot.
“We have more midfield depth now. Shannon Geary doesn’t have to be in the middle anymore, he plays his role.
“Lachlan Sharp doesn’t have to be in the middle, he can stay forward.
“We had to strengthen our midfield group and we’ve done that.
“It’s no secret the way both sides like to play.
“Gisborne’s midfield will try to bash and crash us and we’ll try and use our leg speed to advantage.
“We need to make sure we stay competitive with the contested footy.”
The Storm’s free-flowing style can leave the door open for rivals to attack.
However, Wilson said he backs his defensive unit in to keep its opponents to a losing score.
“Our consistency and depth down back has been the difference in the past four weeks or so,’’ he said.
“Ben Lester, Ash Trollop and Jayden Donaldson are three key defenders and we’ve always got Leigh Prior up our sleeve as well.
“Those key defenders have got some continuity into their footy in the past month and that has been critical.
“We’ve got every confidence that our backline can stand up for us.”
At the other end of the ground, the Storm’s key forwards have surprised plenty by their ability to stand up under pressure.
Kris Lea produced his best game in the BFL last week against Sandhurst.
The big man grabbed 11 marks and kicked six goals in a best on ground performance.
Tom Bartholomew and Leigh Prior have also been constant threats.
“(Key forwards) Lea, Bartholomew and Prior all played well last week,’’ Wilson said.
“Lea’s versatility by playing forward and in the ruck has been huge for us.
“Gisborne will go into the game with Waters as the only ruckman whereas we’ve got Kris to back up Michael Pilcher. Waters has had a great year, but we’re hoping we might be able to wear him down.”
Wilson said he has tried to keep the hype of a possible grand final berth away from his players’ minds.
“We haven’t overly spoken about grand finals,’’ he said.
“One more win will give us a chance to have a crack at it.
“We’ve won two finals, but we’re not overrating ourselves.
“We know we’ve been playing some reasonable footy.
“If we keep that going we’ll be some chance to get to the grand final.
“There’s a lot of work to be done first.”