Monday, June 23, 2014 - 6:31 PM by Alex Paull

PEEL has overcome a determined Perth side to snatch its second win for the season, defeating the Demons by 19 points in soggy conditions at Bendigo Bank Stadium.

The Thunder held off numerous challenges from the visitors, including a withering late burst, to run out 12.18 (90) to 10.11 (71) winners.

Despite the ground being virtually underwater, the Demons hit the scoreboard early with two early goals, before late inclusion Tom Sheridan harnessed some World Cup magic to open Peel’s account.

Following its slow start, the Thunder played high quality football on a ground closely resembling a clay pot, as it kept Perth goalless for the second quarter while kicking three goals.

Anthony Morabito continued his rich vein of form with 12 first half possessions and a goal, while Brennan Gillam typified Peel’s intent in the second quarter with a passionate display of pressure and intensity.

Much of Peel’s drive off half back came through the likes of Eddie Dann and Kepler Bradley, while the midfield unit showed strong signs with a powerhouse display.

Peel extended its lead to 15 points in the third quarter when a typical Gillam effort resulted in a free kick and 50m penalty, before Perth livewire Gerald Ugle cut the margin back late in the term.

The Thunder looked like running away with the game when Michael Apeness raked in a big pack mark to boot his third, but Perth rallied hard in the last quarter.

Conditions made life difficult for tall forwards, but Scott Gumbleton, Matt Taberner and Apeness all made an impact forward of centre, with Apeness the standout with three goals and 10 marks.

Sam Menegola had kept Perth skipper Paul Bevan quiet for most of the day, but the former Sydney premiership player threatened to win the game off his own boot, with two late goals to reduce the lead to nine points.

But the Thunder steadied through Taberner and Gumbleton to seal the hard-fought victory. 

Peel coach Cam Shepherd said the win was evidence of a growing maturity and synergy within the group.

“The effort and synergy was something we addressed from last Saturday, and although we were behind, it was evident early on that the contested ball was strong, and the players were understanding the structures,” Shepherd said.

Given last weekend’s disappointing performance, Shepherd said he was pleased with how the players responded when confronted with tough conditions and an early deficit.

“We had seven shots in first quarter, but we recognised there was lot of game to go and we reinforced the importance of being resilient and strong to get back into the game,” he said.

Last weekend, the Thunder only managed 34 inside 50s, but that figure was increased to 53 against the Demons, for 30 scoring shots, which was indicative of the improvement in the midfield.

“We focused on couple of areas during the week, and the inside 50s showed that we won inside battle but managed repeat entries, which was pleasing,” Shepherd said.

The win also marked the debut of 20-year-old Eaton product Stephen Kane, who showed glimpses of run and dash.

“We have been impressed with his pace and pressure, we recognise his potential and it certainly has been a meteoric rise, “ Shepherd said.

Peel will look to build on its promising performance ahead of next week’s clash with third-placed Subiaco.