Storm after first

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Hdfnl Finals - BY GRANT KUCHEL

Apoor few weeks of football has cost Jeparit-rain­bow an­other top-three fin­ish in Horsham District league. But as we know, it’s only the top two sides that get any real ben­e­fit in a six-team fi­nals se­ries so it will be just down to busi­ness for the Storm in this year’s cam­paign. Jeparit-rain­bow’s en­try into the com­pe­ti­tion has been a suc­cess story, es­pe­cially for a club that had faced an un­cer­tain fu­ture in the now de­funct Mallee league. The Storm’s in­clu­sion into Horsham District football has, apart from bring­ing with it play­ers and ex­tra football in­trigue, also added a new com­mu­nity into the com­pe­ti­tion fam­ily. Jeparit-rain­bow’s foun­da­tion clubs Jeparit and Rain­bow have long and colourful his­to­ries and as a com­bined sport­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion fly the flag for com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing on the fringe of the Big Desert. But while the Storm has en­joyed con­sol­i­da­tion and rein­vig­o­ra­tion, the big hoodoo it faces is it is yet to chalk up a fi­nals win in league.

The longer it goes on, the tighter the noose be­comes.

The top-end tal­ent of the Storm is as good as any in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Piv­otal for­ward Peter Weir has the abil­ity to con­trol the air waves, joint coach Ash­ley Clugston is a proven star at sev­eral lev­els and goal-kicker and ruck­man Sam Cranna should give first use of the ball to the team’s small men.

Ash­ley Clugston in par­tic­u­lar has wowed Wim­mera-mallee crowds, team-mates and op­po­nents alike in big games in the past – of­ten in fi­nals or in rep­re­sen­ta­tive games.

He has an un­canny sense of where the goals are and is hard to stop when his tail is up and he finds space to ma­noeu­vre.

Then the team has the likes of Sean Bayzand, Luke Mur­phy and Shane Maslin who all have the street smarts to con­trol the stop­pages and get first use of the ball and Justin Cozens if avail­able is of­ten a good bet to win 50-50 con­tests.

Brent Marra, Brodie Grant and El­liot Bath are oth­ers who can turn a game very quickly with their ap­proach at the ball. its his­tory in the

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