Thunder falter against mighty Royals - Match Report round 15

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 4:58 PM by Alex Paull

EAST Perth has maintained its dominance over Peel with a convincing 63-point win in the battle of the alignment sides.

Despite a competitive first half, the Royals proved too powerful booting nine of the last 11 goals to run out 16.13 (109) to 6.10 (46) winners.

The ladder-leaders burst out of the blocks to establish a 22-point lead at quarter time, before the Thunder managed to restrict the Royals in the second quarter.

But the Royals’ class was evident in the third quarter, as they feasted on turnovers while the Thunder struggled to make an impact moving forward.

Despite the Royals having over 100 more possessions and a remarkable 100 more marks, the Thunder still managed to maintain its tackling pressure.

But Peel coach Cam Shepherd said it was the first game this season where the Thunder had struggled to stay in the game.

“This year we’ve been competitive in every game, but this one definitely got away from us,” Shepherd said.

He identified the side’s inability to pick up a man and turn the ball over as issues that would be addressed during the week.

“We felt the opposition got control early and we couldn’t get it back, but we failed to pick up a man and the fact that they had over 100 more possessions and 100 more marks is evidence of that,” he said.

“We held them reasonably in the first half but they got on a roll and we couldn’t peg them back.”

Another issue to be rectified was the lack of pressure through the midfield, resulting in 63 inside 50s for the Royals for 16 goals, which Shepherd said was unacceptable.

“It’s an indictment on the pressure from our mids and our high half forwards, who didn’t take responsibility for shutting down entries,” Shepherd said.

“That and addressing the turnovers will be a focus this week, but we will continue to work hard, hone our skills and I still want the players to back themselves.”

But there were positive signs for the Thunder, with Laine Wilkins continuing his strong recent form.

Wilkins rebounded from four straight behinds last weekend to finish with three goals to be the side’s main offensive threat.

Shepherd said it was the sign of a player growing in maturity.

“He had a good game last week despite his inaccuracy, but for him to put in another strong performance and get the results on the board is very pleasing for us,” Shepherd said.

Another player who impressed was Sam Menegola, who continued to develop as a versatile utility.

Having been employed as the side’s main stopper in the last couple of games, Menegola was issued the task of curbing prominent Royals playmaker Freddie Clutterbuck, and the young Docker was instrumental with 32 possessions while restricting Clutterbuck to 22.

With the likes of Eddie Dann evolving into a damaging rebounding defender, the ingredients are there for a talented side, but Shepherd said there was still a long way to go for the young group.

Peel face sixth-placed Claremont at Bendigo Bank Stadium next weekend.