Peel succumb to Black Ducks’ blast

The Thunder again were hit hard by injury with Sam Menegola (knee), Mat Brown (thigh), Kristin Thornton (hamstring), and Michael Wood (knee) all hurt in the 16.18 (114) to 11.13 (79) loss.

After a tight tussle in the first quarter, the visitors broke the game open with a six-goal second quarter, with key Dockers Colin Sylvia and Clancee Pearce influential.

But the Swans showed great resolve to hit back in the third quarter on the back of four-game full forward Ricky Cary who booted eight goals for the day.

The Thunder were again hampered by a lack of interchange rotations, and while the lack of fresh players took its toll, the home side dominated possession, booting 10 goals to two in the second half, including a stretch of six in succession.

Pearce and Sylvia both put their hands up for AFL recalls, with Pearce especially dominant against his old side with 39 touches, 10 marks and and five inside 50s.

Josh Simpson continued his recent good form with 23 lively touches, while Brendon Jones was prolific as usual, notching 26 disposals.

Peel coach Cam Shepherd said there was a notable shift in pressure from the first half to the second, and while the lack of fresh players was a factor, the second-half fade-out was disappointing.

‘When you’re under the heat of battle and you don’t get a rest, that’s when you find out who has the skills and the mental capacity, and we had some disappointments in that period,’ Shepherd said.

Shepherd refused to let the disappointing second half performance detract from the positives.

‘We were really pleased with our performance in the second quarter, we felt we could have had more reward for our effort,’ Shepherd said.

‘But our midfield got on top, so we see that period as the benchmark for how we want to play, it’s just a matter of finding more consistency.’

Among the positive signs for Peel was the performance of debutant Josh Mathers, who showed great composure in defence, collecting 18 touches.

Mathers, who has been on the Peel list for three years, used the ball well and looked at home in the league side, which Shepherd said was a great thing for the football club.

‘He’s been rewarded for his relentless pursuit of getting into the league side, and he didn’t just want to get in but he wanted to make a mark, and that was really something we take out of the game as a positive,’ Shepherd said.

Dockers supporters would also be heartened by the return of ruckman Jonathan Griffin, who got through the game unscathed, as did Matthew Taberner, while Zac Clarke also pressed his claims.

Peel will review and regroup this week before a critical game against ladder-leader Subiaco on Saturday at Rushton Park.