PEEL Thunder coach Cam Shepherd has slammed recent criticism of the club’s use of Fremantle Dockers players.
It followed an announcement on Wednesday that he would remain as coach for a further two years.
“I’m more focused on the game in 10 days time,” he said when asked about the recent criticism, but added it had been unfair.
“(Critics are) quick to pick but everyone was happy when Peel were at the bottom of the ladder consistently,” he said.
“But now we’re a strong club they don’t particularly like it.
“We’ve come a long way in five years.”
Some press have named Peel a “defacto” AFL club and said Subiaco and South Fremantle should be the real WAFL grand finalists.
However, Shepherd pointed out East Perth, despite their alignment with the West Coast Eagles, had not celebrated the same success as Peel.
“We like the fact that we’re in the press,” he said.
“(East Perth) haven’t enjoyed the success we’ve had.
“The players drive that. We’ve won enough games to make the finals; East Perth have shown it’s not easy to do and we’ve introduced a lot of fine players.”
Star Peel Thunder recruit Leroy Jetta agreed that Fremantle players joining the team was not an obvious advantage.
“It has been pretty hard because we don’t train with the Freo players,” he said.
“So they rock up on game day and we gel from there.
“With the weekend off this week, we’ll have the chance to train with them; that’s exciting and a bit different.”
Shepherd encouraged Mandurah residents to get along to the WAFL grand final next weekend.
“We’re a Mandurah football side and a lot of the rest of the competition don’t like us too much,” he said.
“We’ve got to stick together.”
Shepherd said he would stick to his usual game plan going into the grand final.
“You just need to steer them and give them leadership in the way they need to play,” he said.
“I give them good feedback; I don’t know that doing your block helps nowadays.”
Shepherd said there was potential for the grand final to be as a epic as the recent West Coast and Port Adelaide game.
“It’s the last football game ever at (Subiaco Oval), so it has the potential to be a good game,” he said.