PEEL Thunder had a strong first half against Claremont at Rushton Park on Saturday and then managed the last two behinds of the game after scores were tied, to come away with a crucial two-point round 15 victory.
Claremont entered the clash on a three-game winning streak and took that momentum into the start, with small forward CJ Oakley kicking truly after just 30 seconds.
Peel did get the next goal from Taberner before Kersten marked his WAFL appearance with a major to put the Thunder on top. McCracken responded for Claremont but Peel finished the first term strongly with goals to captain Ugle and youngster Thorne, to hold a nine-point lead.
It took just over a minute for Peel to stretch its lead – thanks to a goal to Matthews and with Claremont managing just one behind in the second term, another Thunder goal from Kersten saw the home team in control by 23 points at the long break.
Claremont needed to find something in the third term and with the advantage of the scoring end despite the tough conditions, the Tigers held the Thunder scoreless and kicked three goals themselves through Manuel, Langdon and Simpson to close to within a point at the last change.
Two behinds to start the final quarter and Claremont took the lead before Peel was back in front, with Sutcliffe kicking truly for the Thunder’s first goal of the second half.
The Thunder went further in front with a goal to Tassone but Claremont wasn’t done with and following a string of behinds and then a goal to Bolton, the scores were all tied up heading into time-on. But Peel managed the only two scores in the final seven minutes – behinds to Hancock and Kersten – and that was enough for the crucial nail-biting victory.
Peel heads to Joondalup Arena on Saturday to play West Perth in search of a fourth straight win and to make up for a loss at home to the Falcons earlier this season on Good Friday.
Claremont is back to Claremont Oval on Saturday to take on South Fremantle, with the Tigers having won three straight matches at Tigerland prior to Saturday’s loss to Peel.
The game will be the annual Naidoc Round fixture between the Tigers and Bulldogs. Remarkably, Claremont has won nine of 10 of the clashes since the event started back in 2007.