Round 1 beckons for improving Peel

Monday, March 17, 2014 - 6:52 PM

By Alex Paull


DESPITE going down to South Fremantle in the final practice match of the pre-season on Saturday, coach Cam Shepherd is confident Peel Thunder is well-prepared ahead of next week’s season opener against East Perth.

The Thunder were gallant in the 14.7 (91) to 12.11(83) defeat, but Shepherd said there were plenty of positive signs.

“We got more minutes into some of our players, and we came away from it pretty injury-free, so we’re really happy with where we’re at,” Shepherd said.

Peel were again boosted by the presence of prominent Dockers players such as Colin Sylvia, Clancee Pearce and Nick Suban, but the Thunder produced another even performance which impressed the coach.

“Again, there was an even mix which was very pleasing, and we were comfortable with a mix of Fremantle players and Peel players,” Shepherd said.

“Matt Brown and Brendon Jones played solidly for us, Nick Suban had a good game, and Sylvia put in some good hard work.”

Anthony Morabito’s comeback remains on track when he completed a full game running off half back, while highly-touted Dockers recruit Michael Apeness impressed in his first hit-out.

But with the official conclusion of the pre-season, Shepherd’s focus is squarely on Round 1 and a massive showdown with premiership fancies East Perth, and he said there is still room for improvement but the side is well-prepared.

“We recognise that we could have been better with our ball movement, and we’re working to address that but that’s what practice matches are for, to recognise where we can improve,” he said.

“There are still things we’ll be tinkering, but obviously now we’re looking forward to playing our big game against East Perth.

“We’ve got good time into our players but now we’re looking positively in what will be a massive game – East Perth have been recognised as the side to beat this year, and if they’re the benchmark we’re looking forward to having a crack at them.”