WAFL: Peel Thunder final quarter fight back falls short in upset loss to Perth

Danyle Pearce was all concentration. Pictures: Vanessa Schmitt
Danyle Pearce was all concentration. Pictures: Vanessa Schmitt

A PROMISING five-goal last quarter fight back ended in heartbreak for Peel Thunder, going down to the Perth Demons at Bendigo Bank Stadium by six points on Saturday.

Peel’s defensive pressure kept the Demons goalless for the last quarter, but it was not enough to overcome the 38-point three-quarter-time deficit, finishing 12.13 (85) to 11.13 (79).

Thunder’s Brayden Lawler said Perth’s dominance throughout most of the game was challenging to bring under control.

“It definitely hits home… we wanted to come out and start fast this game and to Perth’s credit they withstood that and played really good for three quarters,” he said.

“We came back in the last quarter but it wasn’t enough.”

Brennan Cox.

Peel got off to a slow start conceding the first two goals of the match, to trail by seven points at quarter time.

Lawler said more focus must be placed on Peel’s lack of intensity early on in matches.

“The last couple games we’ve tried to address it, haven’t quite got a finger on it yet but we’ll keep working at it and hopefully turn it around,” he said.

The Thunder kicked three second term goals, only to be matched by Perth, with the Demons taking an unchanged lead heading into the main break.

Following half time, the Demons piled on seven goals to Peel’s two, surging into the final break with a 38-point buffer.

Peel displayed a spirited comeback in the final term kicking five goals through Leroy Jetta, Lloyd Meek and Luke Strnadica, but was unable to overcome the deficit.

Traye Bennell under siege.

Ben Howlett’s class was shown throughout the match, collecting 33 disposals, five marks and laid 10 tackles.

Lawler said Howlett had improved with each game so far this season.

“He’s very good, I think each week he’s been building and he’s starting to play some really good footy, he’s very important to us,” he said.

“He gets in and under and feeds the ball out really well.”

Luke Strnadica attempts to stop a Demons’ mark.

Leroy Jetta continued his scoring dominance, having eight scoring shots to finish with three goals and five behinds, including a long bomb goal from 60m.

Lawler said Jetta brought a dangerous presence to the Peel forward line.

“He’s very exciting to watch, he does a lot of freakish things each week, so it’s pretty standard for him I think,” he said.

Forward Blair Bell continued his strong start to 2018, contributing two goals and racking up 17 touches.

Lawler said Bell sets the tone each week.

“He’s a bit of a barometer for us, when he’s up and about, we are up and about,” he said.

“There’s a lot of us in the team that have been a bit quiet but he’s had a really good start to the season.”

Peel Thunder has a bye next week, before taking on East Perth on Sunday, April 29 at Leederville Oval.

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