Thunder chases history
PEEL Thunder has laid down the gauntlet as the team to beat in 2018 as they push for a third-straight premiership.
The last three seasons have marked a massive turnaround for the club, which was a perennial cellar dweller for the first 18 years of its WAFL existence.
Since making its first finals appearance in 2015, Peel has transformed from the ‘hunters’ to the ‘hunted’ after being crowned champions in 2016 and 2017.
While the retirement of onball leader Rory O’Brien will be felt when the club kicks off it’s title defence, it has bolstered its playing stocks with the signature of 124-game former Essendon player Ben Howlett, who has returned to the club that launched his AFL career.
Senior coach Cam Shepherd said every season brought new challenges.
“We are extremely proud to have won back-to-back flags and season 2017 consolidated our position at the top of the WAFL competition, something that we had worked hard to achieve in 2015 and 2016,” he said.
“We obviously will have quite a lot of new faces in our side in 2018 and we will continue to drive our players to achieve excellence through actions, whilst believing that our squad is still developing and improving.
“Rory O’Brien is a major loss, but we have been really fortunate in getting Ben Howlett back from Essendon.”
Shepherd said the success of the last two years had strengthened the AFL-alignment relationship with the Fremantle Dockers, and that finals were firmly in their sights again this season.
“Our aim in 2018 is to win enough games to get into the finals series,” he said.
“We will then reassess and set more goals. Out team understands the way we want to play and as long as we play with intent we, as coaches, will be pleased.”
Peel Thunder kicks off season 2018 at Bendigo Bank Stadium on March 30 against East Fremantle.
Peel Thunder’s premiership winning team.