Grand final heartbreak for Lions
IT was heartbreak for Subiaco after they fell in the premiership decider to Peel for a second successive year, going down to the Thunder by 16 points in the last WAFL match at Subiaco Oval on Sunday.
In a tight contest where neither side led by more than 13 points until Griffin Logue’s goal on the final siren, the Lions were outclassed 11.6 (72) to 7.14 (56) in front of 18,180 fans.
Thunder defender Luke Ryan claimed the Simpson Medal, judged best on ground for his starring role down back.
Ryan finished with 23 disposals and nine marks.
Veteran Danyle Pearce finished with 25 disposals and eight inside 50s. Traye Bennell had 20 disposals and Rory O’Brien 19.
Leroy Jetta, Tommy Sheridan and Matt Taberner kicked two goals each.
Subiaco forward Ben Sokol threatened to be the match winner with his four-goal performance. Captain Kyal Horsley worked tirelessly to finish with 32 disposals, seven tackles and seven inside 50s.
Outgoing Docker Zac Dawson was pushed forward early in the piece and had the AFL-laden Thunder off to a great start when he snapped the first goal of the game. He had a hand in the Thunder’s second too, handballing off to skipper Gerald Ugle who kicked straight to have the 2016 premiers off to a flyer.
The Lions kicked their first major through Sokol on 11 minutes when he was able to guide home a floating ball from 45 metres out.
Taberner hit back soon after, burying a long-range effort to restore his side’s two-goal lead.
The rain forecast prior to the weekend then hit hard to restrict much of the play to between the 50 metre arcs, with both sides struggling in the slippery conditions.
Peel forward Leroy Jetta was first to hit the scoreboard in the second term to give the Thunder a 10-point buffer. The teams then traded blows on the scoreboard, with utility Sheridan finding space to kick his first and Sokol delivering two more majors to keep Subiaco behind by three points at the long change.
Christopher Phelan, who had 12 disposals for Subiaco to halftime, converted a free kick from 45m out to give his side the lead for the first time in the match before Sokol was able to slot his fourth. It took until the 23rd minute but Peel finally got on the board through Josh Deluca.
The Thunder then had their second barely a minute later when Taberner got on the end of a pass from Pearce.
Taberner converted his second for the match and suddenly it was a one-point ball game.
Taylin Duman drew first blood in the last quarter when he toed through his first of the match.
Wheeler put Subiaco back in front when he slotted from 35m out.
But Jetta won a holding the ball free kick and finished with a composed checkside to give the Thunder a slender four-point lead. Sheridan delivered a similar finish from the same pocket after Hayden Kennedy was pinged for punching the ball out of bounds deliberately.
Logue put the icing on the cake, kicking a goal on the siren to deliver Peel’s second premiership.
Subiaco secured its 17th reserves premiership after a 19point win over South Fremantle earlier in the afternoon.
The Lions kept the minor premiers scoreless in the final term and put through two goals of their own to win 13.6 (84) to 10.5 (65).
Dylan Clarke kicked five goals, gathered 23 possessions, put the ball inside 50 five times and laid five tackles to claim the Merv McIntosh medal as the best player. Braden Fimmano and Nick Menegola kicked two goals each.
In the colts, East Fremantle scored a crushing grand final win over Claremont. The minor premiers saw off their closest rivals by 54 points, 12.5 (77) to 2.11 (23).
Sharks talent Chris Scott secured the Mel Whinnen Medal for best on ground.
Above: Subiaco’s Ben Sokol leads in the chase for the ball. Below from left: A dejected Subiaco after the loss; Peel celebrate its victory; Danyle Pearce added a touch of class.