Critical shortfalls cost Peel in final
A virtual Peel reserves outfit made a mockery of the club’s maiden finals appearance by handing West Perth a 109-point victory and a berth in the second semifinal on Sunday.
Already without 11 of the Fre- mantle players who had steered Peel to their first final in their 19th season, the Thunder took pragmatism to another level by leaving out their two best players in Brendon Jones and Josh Bootsma.
And while a host of newcomers were shredded by West Perth’s imposing midfield, Peel’s two most senior remaining players Leroy Jetta and Gerald Ugle were warehoused in forward pockets.
It was going to be Jones’ first final after 218 league appearances, but his absence at least saved him the embarrassment of being involved in the fourth WAFL final to be decided by a century.
West Perth cruised to the finish line, kicking 21 goals to two after the first break, to prevail 22.13 (145) to 5.6 (36) and record their biggest win in any final.
Peel debutant Kyle Shanahan learnt a lesson from running with Andrew Strijk, the league’s best kicker, who unleashed his thundering right boot with a 60m bomb that was one of eight unanswered goals in the second term.
Dockers rookies Tom Vandeleur and Sean Hurley were busy, and debutants Jake Dowding and Mitchell Wallace showed they had a future at league level.
But Peel were unable to match West Perth’s depth of talent and their deficits of 118 effective kicks, 185 disposals and 80 marks were indicators of their critical shortfalls.