PEEL Thunder suffered a 24-point loss to East Fremantle at ATOM Stadium on Saturday.
The Thunder were kept goalless in the last term while the Sharks pushed away, finishing 8.13 (61) to 4.13 (37).
Peel’s Haydn Matthews said the team’s scrappy play resulted in a lack of dominance on the field.
“We tried to work our game around that contested ball… but we weren’t able to hold it through the four quarters,” he said.
The Thunder had a slow start in the first term scoring five points, as East Fremantle’s strong defence overshadowed Peel’s resilient effort.
Matthews conceded the tough weather conditions made it hard for both teams to get their hands on the ball with 13 behinds each.
“The conditions were tough and that had an impact, but we could have been better in that area definitely,” he said.
Peel’s second term brought a flurry of frustration as the Thunder’s inaccurate shooting led to one goal and four points.
Ben Howlett had a strong game with 35 disposals and six tackles, and Matthews said his presence in the team plays an important role.
“He plays really well and it’s (important) especially for myself to look up to someone with a strong contested ball and clearance,” he said.
The Thunder’s effort and pressure didn’t halt in the third quarter, kicking three goals and a point, closing the deficit to three goals.
The Thunder was unable to reduce the deficit in the final term only managing three points.
Harley Bennell’s class was shown on field with more game time this week, scoring a goal and two points.
Matthews said Bennell was showing positive signs on return.
“Harley’s playing really well… slowly building up his tank and his load of running from his injuries (it) will be interesting to look how he goes,” he said.
Fremantle’s Stefan Giro also registered high on the disposal count with 34 possessions.
Matthews said Giro’s fast return from pre-season injury brought a strong presence to the forward line.
“Giro’s made a strong return, gets a lot of the ball and can use it inside and outside,” he said.
Peel Thunder takes on Claremont Tigers at Claremont Oval on Saturday June 2 at 2.15pm.