WAFL: Peel Thunder one win away from finishing third

Left: Luke Strnadica contests a ruck knock. Picture: Michael Roberts.
Right: Alexander Bray swoops on the footy during Peel’s clash against Perth. Picture: Rachel Fenner.
Left: Luke Strnadica contests a ruck knock. Picture: Michael Roberts. Right: Alexander Bray swoops on the footy during Peel’s clash against Perth. Picture: Rachel Fenner.

PEEL Thunder are one win away from securing third position on the WAFL ladder after beating Perth at Rushton Park on Saturday.

The Thunder overcame a slow start against the Demons to snap a two-game losing streak, winning by 21 points with the final score 11.10 (76) to 8.7 (55).

Peel’s Joshua McMahon said the Thunder expected the Demons to come out strong.

“We knew Perth were always going to be a tough game,” he said.

“We didn’t want to underestimate them so we picked it up in the second quarter and carried it through.”

Peel weathered an early onslaught from Perth, as they conceded two early goals while only kicking one of their own in the first quarter.

The Thunder managed to turn it on in the second term, scoring four goals as they pushed forward and lifted their intensity.

McMahon said Peel had to outwork the Demons to get ahead.

“We just lifted another gear and worked harder around the ball,” he said.

“Our intensity and tackle pressure got us on our way and we just got on our bike and kicked a few goals.”

Peel entered the halftime break with a seven-point lead and a half of football to play to prove themselves as finals contenders.

The Thunder’s pressure and effort didn’t slow in the third quarter as they begun to surge ahead, kicking three goals while building a 17 point lead to take into the final term.

McMahon said coach Cam Sheppard encouraged them to finish the game strong and reminded them what was at stake with a finals berth looming.

“He just kept us in that mindset we needed, and to not underestimate them even though we were up,” he said.

“We just needed to continue to bring that pressure, bring that intensity, keep working, and then at the end of the day we will get the rewards.”

Peel got off to a hot start in the final term scoring two early goals and managed to hold off any sort of comeback the Demons threw at them.

Rory O’Brien stood out once again, racking up 28 disposals and seven tackles.

McMahon said O’Brien was a leader of the team and a great example on the field.

“He leads by example, he’s very vocal and he hits the ball first,” he said.

“He gets ground balls and just does all the hard work which we see and acknowledge and it lifts us as well.”

Blair Bell kicked another two goals as he continues to build on his good form.

McMahon said Bell was a great target to have.

“He’s someone to kick to and helps the forward structure, his forward pressure is second to none,” he said.

Peel Thunder will take on the East Fremantle Sharks next Saturday at East Fremantle Oval, bouncedown at 2.15pm.

McMahon said Peel will be ready to give everything they have to get another win.

“Training will be pretty spick and span this week and we’ll be giving it our all,” he said.