Round 21 – Peel Thunder v Perth Match ReportMonday, August 14, 2017 - 8:52 AM - by Chris Pike
REIGNING WAFL premiers Peel Thunder did enough to come away with a solid 21-point victory against the bottom placed Perth at Bendigo Bank Stadium on Saturday to remain in third position.
Once again Perth did start impressively kicking the game's first two goals and leading by five points at quarter-time. That has become a trend for the Demons all season long and it again gave them some hope of a third win of the season on Saturday in Mandurah against the reigning premiers.
That would have taken Perth off the bottom of the ladder potentially for good this season but Peel was able to respond with seven goals to three during the second and third quarters to open enough of a gap to set up the win.
Peel did just enough to come away with the 11.10 (76) to 8.7 (55) win in what was the Thunder's ninth consecutive victory against the Demons. Perth's last win over Peel was Round 7, 2014.
The win consolidates Peel in third position on the WAFL ladder with an 11-7 record and the best percentage behind the top two teams.
That leaves the Thunder looking good to remain third and to earn a finals double chance setting up a likely qualifying final against South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
The loss sees the Demons slip to a 2-17 record on the season and an 11-game losing streak. They remain on the bottom of the ladder by percentage behind East Fremantle with one game remaining.
Perth actually had 35 more possessions than Peel, took 18 more marks and had eight extra inside-50 entries. But they just weren’t efficient enough or had any genuine targets in attack leading to six fewer scoring shots and the 21-point defeat.
Harley Bennell showed some encouraging signs for Peel Thunder and Fremantle kicking two goals from 14 possessions and four marks.
Tom Sheridan was also impressive kicking two goals to go with 22 disposals and seven tackles.
Premiership forward Blair Bell rediscovered some of his form from 2016 with two goals from 12 disposals while Brett Milward kicked two majors to go with 15 possessions in just his second appearance of 2017.
Five-time fairest and best winner, Sandover Medallist, premiership player and 242-game veteran midfielder Rory O'Brien remains in outstanding form for Peel delivering another 28 possessions, seven tackles and five marks in Saturday's win.
Without any of his fellow Fremantle ruckmen in the line-up, Luke Strnadica stepped up for Peel with 13 touches, 51 hit outs and a goal with support from Zac Dawson who had 11 disposals, four marks, four tackles and 16 hit outs.
Taylin Duman also gathered 21 disposals for the Thunder, Alex Bray 19, Ryan Nyhuis 18, Haydn Matthews 18, Brad Walsh 16 and Corey Morris 16.
Perth captain Clint Jones could not have possibly done more in an attempt to lead his team to its third win of 2017 finishing with 41 possessions, five marks, five tackles and two goals. Gordon Narrier also kicked two goals for the Demons.
Michael Sinclair finished with 28 possessions and eight marks for Perth as well with Brant Colledge continuing his improved form to finish the season with 23 disposals, seven marks, six tackles and six inside 50s.
Josh Burke continued his emergence with an impressive display made up of 25 touches and seven marks.
Corey Byrne gathered another 23 disposals for the Demons, Liam McKenna 21, Devin McFarlane 21, Aidan Tropiano 20 (10 tackles), Laine Wilkins 20 and Brent Edmonds 17.
Perth once again made a strong start with the opening two goals of the game starting with usual defender Brent Latch at the five-minute mark. The exciting Gordon Narrier then added another seven minutes later but starting well this season is nothing new for the Demons.
And once again Perth was still able to hold a five-point lead by quarter-time with Peel managing just the one opening quarter goal from the returning Brett Milward.
It took Peel just six minutes into the second quarter to take the lead with Harley Bennell kicking truly. The Thunder then moved eight points in front when Blair Bell kicked truly.
The Demons closed the gap again through captain Clint Jones and then regained the lead briefly when Anton Scotney goaled at the 19-minute mark.
But the Thunder finished the first half strongly with goals to Tom Sheridan and Brad Walsh to take a narrow seven-point advantage into the long break.
Peel opened the second half with goals to Bennell and Luke Strnadica to again kick away to what would ultimately prove a match-winning 13-point advantage.
Perth continued to fight the rest of the way in the second half but could never regain the lead.
Peel did go on to lead by 18 points at three quarter-time and with another three goals apiece in the last quarter, the Thunder went on to record the important yet overly unimpressive 19-point victory over the bottom placed Demons.
Peel Thunder can further consolidate third position and a double chance come finals time with a win against East Fremantle this Saturday at East Fremantle Oval.
Perth plays its last game of 2017 this Saturday against the in-form East Perth but if the Demons can limit the losing margin if unable to win, they will remain a chance of avoiding the wooden spoon for 2017.
PEEL THUNDER 1.2 5.4 8.5 11.10 (76)
PERTH 2.1 4.3 5.5 8.7 (55)
PEEL THUNDER – Goals: H Bennell, Sheridan, Bell, Milward 2; Ugle, Walsh, Strnadica.
Best: O'Brien, Strnadica, Sheridan, Duman, Matthews, Bell, Bray.
PERTH – Goals: Narrier, Jones 2; Latch, Cary, Chester, Scotney.
Best: Jones, Burke, Sinclair, Colledge, McFarlane, Wilkins, McKenna.