PEEL Thunder coach Cam Shepherd praised the maturity of his young side following their four-goal win over South Fremantle at Bendigo Bank Stadium.
Peel kicked five of the opening seven goals and led at every change thanks to their bright opening quarter.
Despite South Fremantle narrowing the margin to two points at three quarter time, Peel produced a four-goal-to-one final quarter to secure their sixth win of the season.
Shepherd said he was proud of his side for standing up in the fourth quarter to the third-placed Bulldogs and learning from the mistakes of the previous week’s loss to Perth.
“It was reflective of our previous game against Perth, we were well ahead at three quarter time and lost,” he said.
“When we were challenged this week, we dug in and found a way to get over the line and it was one of our best quarters for the year.”
Shepherd highlighted Harley Bennell’s performance and said his performances suggested he was edging closer to a Fremantle Dockers recall.
“He had a great first quarter, he won lot of clearances and kicked a goal,” he said.
“He had a slow patch in the middle, but he was really influential in last quarter and is nearly up to full game time.”
The consistent Mitchell Crowden (27 disposals, nine tackles and five inside 50s) and Danyle Pearce (24 disposals) were again amongst Peel’s best as they held off a strong South Fremantle midfield.
Brayden Lawler and fifth-gamer Hugh Dixon both snared three goals apiece, while captain Gerald Ugle led by example with two goals and ten tackles and Shepherd praised his forward’s efforts.
“Given the conditions, it was an advantage being a bit smaller than normal,” he said.
“The smaller players bought pressure, which bought turnovers and allowed us to play in forward half.