Sharks outrun young Thunder

Monday, July 21, 2014 - 3:21 PM

EAST Fremantle have outlasted a plucky Peel Thunder side to cement its place in the top four following a 24-point win at East Fremantle Oval on Saturday.

Despite being rank outsiders, the Thunder took the fight up to the Sharks, resulting in a tight tussle for the majority of the game.

Trailing by two points at halftime, the visitors sniffed an upset in the third quarter, slamming on three goals to sneak out to a handy lead.

But the Sharks midfield showed class to answer with three goals of their own to reclaim a six-point lead going into the final change.

The tenacious contest continued well into the last quarter, with both sides trading goals before late majors to former AFL players Brett Peake and Bradd Dalziell sealed the game for the Sharks, running out 14.14 (98) to 11.8 (74) winners.

Eddie Dann continued his rich vein of form, collecting 30 touches and booting two goals as he showed that his ability to run through the midfield was another string to his bow.

Having primarily played as a forward, Dann has been arguably Peel’s most influential player over the past month with his ability to run off half-back and pinch-hit up forward, but his role through the midfield impressed coach Cam Shepherd.

“Eddie’s a highly skilled player, and he’s now a leader in the club. We’ve had good results running him off half-back, and he shows his class in the forward line and on the weekend we threw him into the middle with great results,” Shepherd said.

“He’s a classy young player who now has great self-belief, so he is a man who has jumped out of the box, so we’re looking forward to see him develop further with us.

Peel fielded one of its youngest sides of the year and the youth stood up, with Laine Wilkins impressive with 21 disposals, while Tom Sheridan and Hayden Crozier put their hands up for Fremantle recalls with 30 and 25 disposals respectively.

Stalwart Brendon Jones led the young midfield admirably, and was also influential with 26 possessions.

But Shepherd said the fade-out in the final term would serve as a strong education for the young players.

“The efforts from the players for the majority of the game were really sound, but we do need to transform into a side that can get over the line,” Shepherd said.

“I thought we well and truly matched East Fremantle in the midfield, it came down to a couple of key plays which probably cost us the lead in the third quarter, and we’ll address what we need to do to become a side that gets the victories we want.”

The Thunder blooded another local youngster in 20-year-old Warnbro small forward Sam Barndon, who marked the occasion with a goal in the last quarter.

Shepherd said Barndon, who became the club’s sixth locally grown debutant for the season, showed great signs in his first outing at league level.

“His first half was very good and he showed great endeavour and ability to apply pressure, so we look forward to watching him develop,” Shepherd said.


With the bye this weekend, the Thunder will recharge the batteries and begin focussing on its away clash with Perth on August 2.