A HAMSTRING injury to Jake Hall was the only downside to Strathfieldsaye's 30 point victory over finals aspirant Kyneton at Tannery Lane.
The top-of-the-ladder Storm warmed up for a clash next week with reigning premiers Sandhurst with a hard-fought 14.10 (94) to 9.10 (64) win.
It was a win built on a committed team performance, with all Storm players playing their part.
The Tigers, after trailing by 25 points at quarter time, worked their way back into the contest in the second quarter to trail by just nine points at half time.
They were able to claw their way to within five points midway through the third term, but the Storm were able to steady through a pair of goals, including a clever offering from Joshua Formosa.
A late one from smart Tigers forward Ben Weightman reduced the margin to 20 points for Kyneton at the last change.
Hopes of a Tigers revival were quickly blanketed when the Storm, through five-goal forward Lachlan Sharp, Jacob Heavyside and Brad Stringer pushed the margin out to 44 points.
That did not stop the Tigers from coming, with another spirited burst pulling them within 30 points at the final siren.
Storm captain Shannon Geary recognised the closeness of the contest was not reflected in the scoreline.
"It felt a lot closer .... they were exceptional through the midfield and made it fairly tough to get the ball out there and get any flow through," he said.
"For us, again, like last week, it wasn't one individual being exceptional, it was a real 22-player effort, with everyone wanting to do their bit for the team.
"We probably lost our way in the second quarter in the midfield and the midfield wins you the game."
Strathfieldsaye looks set to be without Hall for at least the next two matches.
The Storm injured his hamstring in the opening quarter and took no further part in the match.
His loss against the Dragons could be offset by the potential returns of Harry Crone and Torin Petrie.
Kyneton coach Luke Beattie was pleased with his side's efforts, but was not consoled by the result or margin.
"It's extremely disappointing, we see ourselves as well and truly as a top fie contender, so to go down to Strath, Golden Square or any of those teams up in the space is something we are not accepting of," he said.
"A margin of 30 points, one point, or 70 points, we think we are better than that and should be winning.
"I think we had our opportunities without giving up too significant lead at the start.
"But as I said to the boys that's not necessarily where they won it as we did get back to within a few points at half time - we had wrestled that ascendancy back."
The performance of Michael Clancy on Storm star Sharp, who ended the game with five goals, won rave reviews from both his own coach and the opposition.
"If he didn't get some of those first in on the ball, Sharpy could have been well on his way to kicking 10," Geary said.
Other standouts for the Tigers were Rhys Magin across half back, four-goal forward Weightman, Josh Govan and Tim Kirk in his first senior game up from the under-18s.
For Strathfieldsaye, Keelan Payne was exceptional in defence, while Sam Heavyside was lively up forward.