Ex­cite­ment at Ben­nell re­turn

Weekend Courier - - Sport -

PEEL Thun­der will look to make it six straight wins when host­ing the league-lead­ing Su­bi­aco at Rush­ton Park in a grand fi­nal re­match to­mor­row.

The Thun­der has been in great form re­cently, win­ning eight of its past nine games but will be up against a Lions side with 14 wins in a row.

Coach Cam Shep­herd said the Thun­der was play­ing well.

“The team has come to­gether and we’re look­ing for­ward to the back half of the year,” he said.

He said the East Perth game was a solid per­for­mance against a good op­po­si­tion.

Shep­herd said Peel had a good second quar­ter, kick­ing four goals to two, in tough con­di­tions.

“The boys dug pretty deep in the third quar­ter, with Matt Taberner kick­ing three goals,” he said.

He said it was a good team per­for­mance, set­ting up a solid lead at three-quar­ter time.

Peel, and in­deed Fre­man­tle, were buoyed to open the second half with the re­turn­ing Har­ley Ben­nell play­ing his first game of 2017.

The third quar­ter came with a spe­cial mo­ment as Ben­nell kicked his first goal and was swarmed by the en­tire team as they cel­e­brated with him.

Ben­nell moved well af­ter play­ing short bursts each quar­ter and put him­self in a good po­si­tion to con­tinue his build back to AFL. It was his first game in 18 months and Shep­herd said it was great to get him back on the park and run­ning around.

Fre­man­tle Dock­ers gen­eral man­ager of foot­ball Chris Bond was pleased Ben­nell got through the game un­scathed.

“We man­aged his min­utes pretty well but we also man­aged his dis­tance and speed. It was im­por­tant for Har­ley and it was great to see,” Bond said.

“He’s a classy player and has per­formed at the high­est level con­sis­tently be­fore, so we’re con­fi­dent he’ll get back to play­ing good footy. The most im­por­tant thing is he feels re­ally well (about the game) and that’s what he has done.”

Pic­ture: Fre­man­tle Dock­ers

Har­ley Ben­nell kicks a goal for Peel Thun­der against East Perth.

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