Round 10 Match Report – Peel Thunder v West Perth

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 12:29 PM by Chris Pike
PEEL Thunder made it consecutive wins for the first time in 2018 holding off Jay van Berlo and West Perth for a three-point win in challenging conditions at Bendigo Bank Stadium on Saturday.
Coming off winning the past two WAFL premierships, Peel had struggled to date in the 2018 season but now coming off a hard fought win against Claremont last week, they backed it up with another tight win against West Perth in Mandurah on Saturday.
The game went the way of the strong breeze with Peel kicking four goals to one to lead by 21 points at quarter-time before West Perth hit back with four goals to one in the second to trail by just two points at the main break.
The Thunder again pulled away in the third term to lead by 18 points at the last change and that soon became 30 points with the first two goals of the last quarter.
But West Perth wasn’t giving away and three last quarter goals to Jay van Berlo and two for Keegan Knott got them within three points but the Falcons just ran out of time with Peel holding on to win 11.11 (77) to 11.8 (74).
Ben Howlett delivered a clear best afield performance for Peel Thunder with the 2009 fairest and best winner who went on to play 124 games in the AFL at Essendon delivering 33 possessions, 13 tackles and two goals.
Brayden Lawler, Lloyd Meek and Blair Bell each kicked two goals apiece for the Thunder as well.
Danyle Pearce continues to hold his head high despite being in and out of Fremantle's AFL team having another 31 possessions and five marks while Ethan Hughes was impressive in defence with 28 disposals and 11 marks.
Mitch Crowden played well also with 27 possessions and 11 tackles while Ben Hancock finished with 19 disposals, Gerald Ugle 18 (four behinds), Keegan Power 18, Corey Morris 17, Lawler 17 (six tackles) and Cameron McCarthy 17 (eight marks, eight tackles, one goal).
Luke Strnadica had a solid showing in the ruck with 15 touches, 34 hit outs, six marks and four tackles.
There's few things that Jay van Berlo hasn’t accomplished in his 174-game career with West Perth as a former captain, premiership player and dual fairest and best winner, but he kicked five goals for the first time on Saturday from nine kicks, eight marks and five tackles.
West Perth had only three goal scorers for the afternoon with Keegan Knott and Tyler Keitel also standing up to kick three goals apiece to give the Falcons a chance of the win in Mandurah.
It was also a career-best afternoon in the midfield for Luke Meadows who picked up 38 possessions to go with eight tackles and six inside-50 entries for the Falcons.
Shane Nelson racked up another 36 possessions as well while Aaron Black gathered 26 disposals (eight tackles), Corey Chalmers 19, Mitch Peirce 19 (12 tackles), Michael Lourey 18 and Blake Wilhelm 16.
Peel started the game strongly looking to make it consecutive wins for the first time in 2018 and with the breeze behind them in Mandurah, Ben Howlett kicked the game's first two goals. Lloyd Meek added another and the Thunder were up early by 19 points.
West Perth did get a goal against the strongly breeze thanks to Keegan Knott but Peel answered through Cameron Sutcliffe to lead by 21 points at the first break.
West Perth gained the advantage of the breeze in the second quarter and ended up kicking the first two goals through Tyler Keitel and Jay van Berlo to get within 10 points.
Peel did get one against the tide thanks to Hugh Dixon but the Falcons responded courtesy of Keitel to give him three for the term and they were within two points at the main break.
It was the Thunder with the win at their back again in the third quarter and they started with two goals to Brayden Lawler in the first five minutes to lead again by 14 points.
When Blair Bell kicked truly at the 13-minute mark the lead was 20 points before West Perth got one back through van Berlo to be within 18 points at three quarter-time.
Against the run of play, Peel got the opening two goals of the last quarter courtesy of Bell and Cameron McCarthy to appear to hold a match-winning 30-point advantage.
West Perth got one answering goal with Knott kicking his second but Peel again responded through Meek to be up by 29 points at the 13-minute mark.
The Falcons didn’t get another goal for five minutes but that came through van Berlo who also added his fourth and fifth goals to make it a nine-point game by the 29-minute mark.
Knott managed to kick his fifth near the 31-minute but West Perth ran out of time and Peel held on for the three-point win.
The reserves contest on Saturday at Bendigo Bank Stadium saw Peel Thunder also win a thriller, holding on to defeat West Perth 10.17 (77) to 11.7 (73) in an eerily similar scoreline to the league clash later in the day.
Calvin Thorne kicked three goals for Peel, Haydn Matthews two, Jacob Perry two and Nick Merritt two along with seven behinds, 21 possessions and six marks.
Matthews also racked up 30 possessions to go with 10 tackles, eight inside 50s and seven marks for the Thunder while Kaine Ah Chee gathered 25 disposals, Michael Humble 23, James Kirby 22, Michael Tassone 21 and Chris Wrigley 21.
Conal Lynch kicked three goals for West Perth along with 20 disposals, eight tackles and five marks. Dylan Yem also kicked two goals.
Matt Guadagnin compiled 25 disposals and laid six tackles for the Falcons with Dean Munns gathering 24 possessions, Mitch Antonio 17, Nick Marinovich 15 and Alex Coe 15 to go with 10 tackles.
Peel Thunder has now won consecutive matches for the first time in 2018 and has the chance to make it three straight when playing South Fremantle for their opening encounter of the season this Saturday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
West Perth remains on the road this Saturday to take on Claremont at Claremont Oval in the first meeting between the two sides since Round 1 where the Falcons beat the Tigers by 18 points at Joondalup Arena.
PEEL THUNDER 4.4 5.5 8.11 11.11 (77)
WEST PERTH 1.1 5.3 6.5 11.8 (74)
PEEL THUNDER – Goals: Howlett, Lawler, Meek, Bell 2; McCarthy, Sutcliffe, Dixon.
Best: Howlett, Crowden, Pearce, Hughes, Lawler, Hancock, Power.
WEST PERTH – Goals: Van Berlo 5; Knott, Keitel 3.
Best: Meadows, Nelson, van Berlo, Peirce, Black, Keitel, Knott.