THE majority of times we’ve played Peel since their AFL alignment, they’ve usually had 14 or 15 Fremantle players.
So while they’ve obviously benefited from the Dockers missing the AFL finals this year, the team we face in the first semi-final at Arena Joondalup on Sunday won’t be much different from that which we’ve already experienced.
We’ve been closely looking at their win over East Perth last weekend and victory over Claremont in the final round.
Compared to some of the Thunder sides we’ve faced in recent years, they weren’t quite as tall against the Royals.
They used Michael Apeness, Shane Yarran and a resting ruckman in the forward line.
Yarran plays tall, but he doesn’t require a tall defender so that could open the door for us to bring a smaller defender into the side, such as Laine Rasmussen, who missed last weekend’s loss against South Fremantle.
Midfielder Aidan Lynch was also a tough omission from the team, replaced by Corey Chalmers in the qualifying final.
He’ll be under consideration again for this weekend’s game; it will be a matter of us deciding if we need that extra grunt and tackling pressure that he brings to stoppages.
Given we play on Sunday, our weekly schedule has been moved forward a day so we won’t finalise selection until Friday night.
Was it the right decision to drop those two players against South Fremantle?
Had we gone down by a goal or two then selection could very well have been up for debate.
But since we were beaten by 52 points, I don’t think whether they played or not would have made a difference to the result.
There was a period in the first half when we played some great football.
But given we were still three goals down at half-time despite the hard work, I think that wore on the players mentally, culminating in the Bulldogs’ dominant third quarter over us.