PEEL Thunder piled on eight opening quarter goals and then withstood a fierce comeback from Perth to secure a 15-point win in a free-flowing contest at Mineral Resources Park.
Peel set the game up with a dynamic opening quarter with eight goals on the back of their wins this season where on both occasions they've set a new highest ever score mark for the club.
Trailing by 29 points at three quarter-time, the Demons produced an inspired revival to close to within 10 points, but Peel would ride the momentum and steady to prevail 14.8 (92) to 11.11 (77)
In a match that saw fluent ball movement and plenty of one-on-one contests, it was that eight goal to two first quarter that would prove the difference for Peel.
Tyrone Thorne celebrated his selection in the WAFL State Squad with another excellent game, playing with plenty of spark and poise in amassing 29 disposals and two goals.
He was well supported by fellow on-baller Ben Hancock (32 disposals) while Brett Bewley’s left foot provided plenty of penetration for the Thunder in a strong game from the Fremantle-listed wingman.
For the Demons, Kristian Cary and Haydn Busher were excellent as forwards, kicking seven goals between them while midfielders Doulton Langlands and Brant Colledge worked hard in the absence of star Brady Grey.
It was a blistering start from the Thunder, who piled on eight goals straight in the first quarter, with the Peel forwards benefitting from the slick ball movement and speed of their midfield.
Ryan Bennell and Jack Sears kicked two apiece for the quarter, with Sears’ second major the result of some sensational coast-to-coast ball movement and a clever dribbling finish.
Needing a response, Perth produced a better performance in the second, managing to stay in touch with the Thunder, largely due to the performance of Kristian Cary, who booted four first-half goals and looked like clunking anything that came his way.
After a high scoring first half, goals became a premium in the third quarter, with Perth managing two majors to one to reduce the margin to under five goals at the final change.
The Demons would come alive with a surging start to the final quarter, with Langlands kicking the first goal of the last to give the home side a sniff.
Busher would then take two strong marks and convert both into goals to snap the margin to 11 points and bring the healthy Lathlain crowd to life.
But a crumbing goal to Ryan Bennell against the run of play would stem the tide, and Peel lifted around the ground to withstand the Perth momentum and secure an impressive victory.
SCHOFIELD IMPRESSES IN RUCKING ROLE
Across a distinguished 194-game AFL career, fans were used to seeing Will Schofield lock down on some of the competition’s most dangerous forwards. But in the absence of Lloyd Meek, Schofield was given a new lease of life, playing as the number one ruckman for the Thunder. Schofield showed his trademark athleticism and experience to gather 19 disposals and 21 hit outs to show he is much more than a dour defender.
BUSHER THE CATALYST FOR PERTH COMEBACK
Trailing by as much as 42 points and staring down the barrel of a disappointing defeat, Perth needed somebody to impose themselves on the contest to get them back into the match. That man was Haydn Busher, who after a quiet first half built himself into the game, kicking three second half goals and providing a strong target inside 50. The former Claremont utility was employed as a deep forward for much of the second half, crashing packs and taking 12 marks to almost inspire a remarkable victory for his original club he has returned to.
OPTUS WAFL PREMIERSHIP SEASON – ROUND 6
PERTH 2.1 5.6 7.7 11.11 (77)
PEEL THUNDER 8.0 11.3 12.6 14.8 (92)
PERTH: Goals – Cary 4; Busher 3; Langlands, Clarke, Stubbs, Quill.
Best – Giblett, Cary, Clarke, Taylor, Langlands.
PEEL THUNDER: Goals – Bennell 3; Thorne, Bell, Sears 2; Merrett, Lawler, Treacy, Randall, Middleton.
Best – Thorne, Schofield, Hancock, Bewley, Merrett.