Thunder look to topple in-form Royals
Peel Thunder will look to break a seven-game winning streak of ladder-leaders East Perth at Lane Group Stadium on Saturday, with coach Geoff Valentine saying stopping the Royals’ vaunted midfield was a key area of focus.
“There’s plenty of depth rolling through there,” Valentine said.
“Hamish Brayshaw, he must’ve been having a few chats with Andy, in the last few weeks it seems every week he’s having thirty touches and kicking two goals.
“We’ll need to make sure we’re nice and accountable through there and then hopefully kick a winning score.”
The Thunder suffered a 19-point loss to the Sharks in Geraldton at the weekend with the result coming at a cost, with leading goal-kicker Sebit Kuek ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
Valentine, who also works with Kuek at Fremantle as a development coach, said rehabilitating the injury would give the 22-year-old the chance to continue to put on size.
“When you saw it on the vision, it didn’t look good,” Valentine said.
“He was in good spirits post-game and he was hopeful he dodged a bullet, but the scans showed some significant damage.
“He’s in for surgery today, so that’ll be him for nine months, but he’s in a pretty good place. There’s been some real growth in his game, I thought his defensive efforts, he’s shown a real intent that wasn’t there early days, and we all know what he can do offensively.”
Draft prospect Clay Hall after a standout under-18 national carnival, returned to the Thunder’s league side with 23 disposals and six marks.
Valentine said the 18-year-old, the son of two-time Peel best and fairest winner Derek, had traits that would be attractive to AFL recruiters.
“Like any young player, there’s plenty to improve,” Valentine said.
“The defence structures and processes change a lot getting up into senior footy. At colts level and in the state 18’s he’s been a real ball-winner and does that magnificently, so we’re working hard to make sure he fits into our defensive system.
“He’s going to be a beauty, it makes you feel old when you know his father really well … and now to see his young fella coming through, it’s been great.
“I think at the start of the year he was well down the list, but he’s been able to get a couple of early league games, have a wonderful carnival, and then to drop straight back into the system last week and have  touches was really impressive.”