PEEL Thunder was defeated by just four points in a thrilling grand final rematch against Subiaco at Rushton Park on Saturday.
After trailing by 21 points at half-time, Peel had appeared in a winning position until Subicao captain Kyal Horsley’s kicked a brilliant roving goal off a boundary throw-in at the 32-minute mark of the final term.
That put Subiaco in front and the Lions went on to win the game 12.15 (87) to 12.11 (83).
Peel came into the contest on the back of three successive victories but the loss saw the reigning premiers slip to a 5-5 record.
Coming off a couple of weeks that have seen him bring up his 150th game to earn life membership at Subiaco and captain WA to the drought-breaking win over Victoria in Melbourne, Horsley ensured he had another memorable day with Subiaco.
Tom Sheridan put his hand up for a recall into the Fremantle Dockers AFL team with a strong showing for Peel, finishing the afternoon with 29 possessions, 11 marks and six tackles.
Danyle Pearce responded to his demotion in good fashion as well, ending up with 27 disposals, seven inside-50 entries and five tackles.
Against the team he won the 2014 premiership with, Josh Deluca gathered 25 possessions for Peel while also laying seven tackles.
Rory O’Brien also gathered 24 disposals for the Thunder, Corey Morris 19 and Taylin Duman 19.
Darcy worked hard in the ruck in a virtual sole role for Peel in the absence of Jonathon Griffin and a bit of a chop-out from Luke Strnadica. Darcy ended up with 12 touches, five marks and 49 hit-outs.
Leroy Jetta continued his good form as an opportunist in attack for the Thunder, kicking three goals, while Gerald Ugle chipped in with two.
While up the other end, premiership defender Ryan Nyhuis did a terrific job holding Liam Ryan to just the one goal for Subiaco.
Subiaco made a fast start to the grand final rematch with goals to Baker and Wheeler in the opening eight minutes.
But Peel soon steadied with goals from Alex Bray and Jetta.
It was another goal apiece before quarter-time and the Lions led narrowly by three points at the first change.
Subiaco again kicked away, however, to start the second term.
Sokol had a purple patch with two goals in as many minutes before Wheeler, Max Walters and Nelson all kicked truly as well.
That saw the Lions lead by as much as 28 points before a late Peel goal to Traye Bennell before half-time cut the Lions’ lead to 21 at the main break.
At the finale, Subiaco got a throw-in deep in the forward pocket.
Peel ruckman Darcy tapped it straight down but it was Horsley moving through the pack at a rapid rate who snapped truly on his left boot and the Lions left Mandurah with the four-point win.
Peel face South Fremantle at Fremantle Oval this Saturday.