IT was a hard-fought battle, but Peel Thunder couldn’t quite walk away victorious in the face of the Tigers.
The Claremont Tigers defeated Peel by 19 points to end a hard-fought game at Claremont Oval on Saturday.
After leading comfortably for three quarters, the Tigers were forced to hold off a fast-finishing Peel, ending the game 12.8 (80) to 9.7 (61).
Defender Traye Bennell said the Thunder were let down by their first quarter effort.
“They got ahead of us in the first quarter, kicked six goals straight,” he said.
The Tigers managed to keep their four-goal lead in the second quarter, but not without a fight from the Thunder.
Peel scaled the margin back to 11-points in the opening minutes of the second term, kicking two goals, but Claremont responded with three more.
Bennell said the backline held in the second half to keep pressure high.
“All the boys know we have to defend first,” he said.
Fellow defender Mitchell Crowden played a powerful game, laying 15 tackles on the opposition.
Brayden Lawler, new to the backline, also played a valuable roll in defence with six tackles and 13 disposals.
Bennell said coach Cam Shepherd assured the Thunder at three-quarter time that they were still in the game.
“He just told us to fight it out, don’t die off,” he said.
Bringing everything they had left to the final quarter the Thunder pushed hard, tightening their defence and pushing the ball to their forward line.
Peel managed to close the gap to an 11-point margin, with 10 minutes left in the game.
But with minutes to spare, the Tigers kicked the final goal, sealing the game.