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Grand Final Optus WAFLW PreviewFriday, July 9, 2021 - 1:27 PM - by Chris Pike

PEEL Thunder and Swan Districts have been the standout teams in the WAFLW competition for 2021 and it's only fitting they will now play off for the premiership in Sunday's Grand Final in Mandurah.

It has worked out well that David Grays Arena was awarded hosting rights for the 2021 Optus WAFLW Grand Final because Peel Thunder earned the right to play at home for the decider anyway after beating Swan Districts three weeks ago now in the second semi-final.

It is going to be a day of celebration of female football in Mandurah on Saturday culminating in the WAFLW Grand Final between Peel Thunder and Swan Districts that will have a bounce down time of 3.15pm. It will also be telecast live on Channel 7.

The Rogers Cup Grand Final begins proceedings on the day at David Grays Arena with the West Peth and South Fremantle Youth Girls teams fighting for the 2021 premiership.

The WAFLW Reserves Grand Final then begins at 12.45pm and will be contested between East Fremantle and Peel Thunder.

Swan Districts and Peel Thunder have been the two standout teams this entire 2021 Optus WAFLW Premiership Season and now it's only fitting they meet in Sunday's Grand Final with the third premiership in the competition at stake.

Swan Districts has taken part in the finals the first two years of the WAFLW competition firstly reaching the Grand Final in 2019 before losing to East Fremantle. They again played finals in 2020 but lost the first semi-final again against the Sharks.

Peel, meanwhile, finished dead last back in the inaugural season of 2019 but were the fairytale story of 2020 to end up winning the premiership by defeating Subiaco in the Grand Final.

Now for the 15 rounds of the 2021 season, it was Swans and the Thunder who emerged as the two standout teams and they finished in the top two positions setting up a meeting in the second semi-final three weeks ago now at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval.

Despite the home ground advantage, it was the reigning premiers who prevailed in a tight game in wet conditions with Peel winning 2.4 (16) to 0.11 (11).

It was a fascinating battle with the Grand Final spot on the line with Swans having 11 scoring shots to six for the afternoon but Peel managing to kick the only two goals.

That meant that Peel advanced straight to the Grand Final to be a chance to win back-to-back premierships while Swans still had another chance to advance by hosting the preliminary final against Subiaco two weeks ago now.

Swan Districts proved too strong for Subiaco winning 7.8 (50) to 1.6 (12) to set the stage for the Grand Final this season rightfully deserves between the two standout WAFLW teams of 2021.

Swan Districts was the dominant team right throughout the WAFLW season. Swans won their opening 13 matches impressively before a slip up against Peel in Round 14, but that was only after top spot and the minor premiership was already secured.

Swans ended up finishing the season in top spot with a 14-1 record while Peel was second four games back at 10-5, but still two games clear of the third and fourth placed Lions and Tigers.

The two teams first met this season back in Round 3 in Mandurah with Swan Districts winning on that occasion against Peel 10.6 (66) to 5.8 (38).

Then in Round 11, it was again Swans prevailing over the Thunder 6.6 (42) to 6.5 (41). That win ended up securing the minor premiership for the black-and-whites but Peel then handed Swan Districts a loss in Round 14, winning 6.3 (39) to 2.6 (18).

Then you throw in the fascinating second semi-final battle three weeks ago, and history suggests a tight, close and tense Grand Final on Sunday afternoon in Mandurah.

Peel Thunder has named its final 23 players for the Grand Final with Nel Baxter, Ebony Bilcich, Jaide Britton, Greta McKinley and Beth Schilling the five players named on the interchange.

Savannah Ahearn, Krystal Carter, Emily Gunton and Bella Mann are the four unlucky players to miss selection and have been named as emergencies.

Swan Districts is yet to trim its squad of 27 down to the final 23 with the four emergencies. That decisions is likely to be made between Naomi Baker, Stephanie Ball, Abbygail Bushby, Shannon Matthews, Emma Nanut, Lauren Osborne, Tara Stribley, Kloe Taylor and Hope Ugle-Hayward.


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