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Monday, July 10, 2017 - 1:48 PM
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Senior Development - Round 16 Peel Thunder v West Perth

Report - Senior Development Coach Brad Dodd

The Thunder made the long trek to Joondalup to take on West Perth looking to bounce back from the disappointing result against the Tigers. Matt Piggott was rewarded for some strong form by making his debut with the League side. It’s a great story of perseverance as his career to date has featured plenty of testing times through a string of major injuries. James Kirby, one of our most consistent players for the year, was also out with an eye injury but we welcomed back Calvin Thorne, Michael Humble, Luke Strnadica and Brad Walsh.

West Perth started the game the stronger and peppered their goals without being able to put the score on the board. Peel started to control the ball and on one of our first forays forward managed to kick the first goal of the game through a Matt Dean set shot. West Perth continued to have most of the play and eventually made Peel pay for some sloppy ball use out of defence through 2 goals to Brayden Antonio. Brett Milward, playing more as a forward this week, kicked 2 goals in the first, one through a clever mark on the lead and another through a high tackle. Despite West Perth having the better of the quarter, the Thunder only trailed by 2 points heading into the 2nd quarter.

As the team has shown on numerous occasions this season, when they get on top they can score heavily. This was evident in a fast start to the 2nd term where the on ball division of Brad Walsh, Michael Humble and Jacob Perry fed off Luke Strnadica’s ruck work and pumped the ball consistently into our forwards. Key forwards Brett Milward and Nick Merritt were a strong presence while Merv Bennell, captaining the side this week, was proving elusive across half forward. The Thunder kicked 5 goals for the quarter to hold a 17 point advantage at the half.

West Perth responded after the break but every time they narrowed the gap the Peel boys were able to find a way to keep them at bay. It was goal for goal in a tight scrap with only 2 goals each kicked for the quarter. Peel were still in control around the clearances and Chris Wrigley and Calvin Thorne both continued to find the ball on their wings.

The Falcons came storming out of the blocks to start the last, kicking the first 3 goals to snatch the lead. The Thunder players looked out on their feet but managed to slow the game once more before a strong contested mark and goal by Nic Merritt grabbed the lead back. This was followed up with a clever snap by Matt Dean, his 3rd for the day, to give Peel bit of breathing space. But West Perth refused to go away and got back within 2 points before Brett Milward once again extended the lead with his 5th, calmly slotting a set shot from 35m. West Perth continued to attack but some resolute defending ensured the Thunder walked away with their 2nd consecutive win on the road.

Better players on the day included Brad Walsh, who had 12 clearances to go with 39 touches, Matt Dean, playing predominantly as a forward who kicked 3 goals and took 9 marks, Nic Merritt, who had 5 shots at goals, 5 contested marks and provided a real target up forward and Chris Wrigley, who had his best game for the year finding the ball 34 times and giving the team real drive from the wing. Luke Strnadica, playing solely in the ruck, gave the mids first look but also found the ball around the ground in another encouraging display. Brett Milward looked like he was going to have a day out before a leg injury and some strong defending by Riley Hutchinson curbed his influence. To his credit, Brett still provided a contest and managed 5 goals.

The Peel boys return to Medibank Stadium this weekend to take on East Perth, then a home game at Bendigo Bank Stadium 22nd July v Subiaco FC, which is the McDonalds Mandurah, Greenfields, Lakelands Family Day offering Free entry to everyone.