Thun­der strikes Tigers but Har­ley hurt

Weekend Courier - - Wafl -

PEEL Thun­der did lit­tle to con­vince any­one they are se­ri­ously go­ing to de­fend their ti­tle, but at least ground their way to a hard­fought 11-point win against Clare­mont at Clare­mont Oval on Satur­day for the start of the WA Day round of WAFL.

Docker Har­ley Ben­nell was again side­lined early with his trou­ble­some calf and scans dur­ing the week will re­veal the ex­tent of the relapse.

Peel wel­comed back a moun­tain of ex­pe­ri­ence, with Hay­den Bal­lan­tyne, Michael John­son, Brandon Mat­era and Danyle Pearce all dropped from AFL du­ties to re­gain form but Clare­mont pushed them from start to fin­ish, with Peel even­tu­ally run­ning out 11 point win­ners, 10.5 (65) to 7.12 (54).

With their third win of the sea­son, Peel still have a hope of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the fi­nals but will need to be far more con­sis­tent and con­vinc­ing in com­ing weeks to de­fend their ti­tle.

Clare­mont wasted many op­por­tu­ni­ties in front of goals to their detri­ment, de­spite dom­i­nat­ing the con­test in the sec­ond and third quar­ters. Af­ter mak­ing head­way in the third quar­ter, Clare­mont trailed by only four points at three-quar­ter time but couldn’t de­liver the knock­out blow when it was needed.

Tom Lee kicked three goals for the Tigers and Michael John­son played well in an un­fa­mil­iar role in at­tack for Peel Thun­der.

Mat­era re­turned to form in his first game for his aligned club from the Dock­ers and put his hand up for a quick re­turn to AFL ranks, es­pe­cially af­ter the dis­mal Fre­man­tle per­for­mance in Mel­bourne.

Bolton and Mitchell con­tin­ued their solid work for Clare­mont but sim­ply could not lift their team­mates enough, or kick goals when they counted to get the Tigers home. Both teams have been dis­ap­point­ing to date, as more was ex­pected from both lead­ing into the 2018 sea­son.

Jesse Dart PERTH had the up­per hand for the first two-and-a-half quar­ters be­fore be­ing run over by a ram­pag­ing Swans out­fit in their WA Day game at Steel Blue Oval in Bassendean on Satur­day.

With eight goals to two in the first term, Perth showed they have grown in con­fi­dence from re­cent per­for­mances and it ap­peared the crowd was in for a real up­set.

Still 28 points up at half-time, the Demons looked like they had come to play and had stopped the Swans with hard tack­ling and fast ball move­ment through­out the first half.

An in­ci­dent in the third quar­ter where a melee bub­bled over and Swans were awarded a 50m penalty that re­sulted in a goal proved to be a turn­ing point and spark for the Swans mid­field to take con­trol and pull them back to level scores at the fi­nal break.

In grow­ing dark­ness due to a late start for the tele­vi­sion broad­cast, Swans ab­so­lutely dom­i­nated the fi­nal term to turn a 40-point deficit in the sec­ond quar­ter to a 30-point vic­tory, 17.13 (115) to 13.7 (85).

Perth were held goal­less in the fi­nal term and only scored one ma­jor af­ter half- time to Swans’ 10goal on­slaught, with five in each of the fi­nal two quar­ters.

Bray­den Noble was im­pres­sive with five goals for the Swans, while Gault, Rig­gio and Wil­son kicked two each. David El­lard worked hard through­out for the win­ners.

Brant Colledge, Corey Yeo and Corey Burns were tire­less for Perth, while ev­er­green Clint Jones worked ex­cep­tion­ally hard and looked to­tally spent late in the game. Michael Ben­nell also showed a lot of promise in an im­pres­sive de­but for the Demons with three goals and some im­pres­sive play.

Swans move to five wins and look a good chance to again fea­ture in the fi­nals un­der first-year coach Adam Pick­er­ing.

Tom Tap­ping IN other WAFL news this week, leg­ends Bernie Nay­lor from South Fre­man­tle and West Perth cen­tre­man Mel Whin­nen were in­ducted into the AFL Hall of Fame.

It is won­der­ful and long-over­due recog­ni­tion of two more great WAFL play­ers that never ven­tured to the VFL sys­tem.

Nay­lor booted 23 goals in a sin­gle game and a WAFL record of 167 goals in a sea­son for the Bull­dogs in 1953. In all, he kicked more than 100 goals in a sea­son an amaz­ing five times.

Mel Whin­nen took home the Breck­ler Medal, West Perth’s fairest and best an in­cred­i­ble nine times, was twice run­ner-up for the San­dover Medal and holds a record of 371 WAFL games, a tally un­likely to ever be sur­passed. PEEL Thun­der coach Cam Shep­herd said it was a re­lief when the fi­nal siren sounded dur­ing Satur­day’s game against Clare­mont at Clare­mont Oval.

“It was a hard game against two sides down the bot­tom of the lad­der,” he said. “Both were look­ing for wins. “Clare­mont had a chance but they missed a few goals. “We were for­tu­nate in that re­gard. “It was such a re­lief to hear the fi­nal siren and to se­cure the points.”

Shep­herd said Bren­dan Mat­era, who came from the Fre­man­tle Dock­ers, played well.

Mat­era kicked three goals, had 20 pos­ses­sions and eight marks for Peel.

Shep­herd said Alex Cohen had been work­ing hard in the re­serves and was well re­warded. Cohen kicked two goals dur­ing his first league game.

Peel face West Perth at Benidgo Bank Sta­dium on Satur­day.

Shep­herd said he was look­ing for­ward to the game.

“It’s good to play a side that’s above us on the lad­der and play­ing well,” he said.

Bray­den Noble kicked five goals for Swan Dis­tricts.

Coach Cam Shep­herd.

Mel Whin­nen

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