Thunder to meet Sharks in WAFL decider
Peel Thunder have stormed into the WAFL grand final for the first time in five years, defeating Subiaco by 23 points in the preliminary final at Lane Group Stadium.
The Thunder’s qualifying final victory over the same opponent two weekends ago meant that their rematch was played in Mandurah and they took full advantage of the familiar conditions in an 11.11 (77) to 7.11 (53) victory.
After captain Ben Hancock won the toss for the hosts and chose to kick with a strong breeze, breakout forward Jack Sears bagged two early majors before vice-captain Traye Bennell kicked truly from just inside the 50-metre to see them jump out to an early 26-point lead.
Goals into the wind from Wil Hickmott and captain Leigh Kitchin gave the Lions a foothold in the contest but they struggled to take full advantage of their turn with the helpful conditions in the second term, going into half-time trailing by 13 points.
Brodie Wemm and Josh Corbett both hit the scoreboard inside the opening minutes of the third term as the Thunder threatened to blow the game open, but their inaccuracy in front of goal meant the visitors still had a pulse, trailing by 33 points at the final break.
Some missed Subiaco opportunities in the opening exchanges of the final term meant that the gap would prove too big to close, before Tom Emmett zipped through a crowd to kick the opening goal of the final term after 14 minutes of play to all but secure the result.
Peel’s 11 AFL-listed players led the way in the win, with Will Brodie (24 disposals, eight tackles) dominant in the contest, Joel Hamling (15 disposals, nine marks) repelling several attacks and Corey Wagner (21 disposals, 10 marks) giving a burst of energy around the ball after being injected into the midfield.
For the Lions, Liam Hickmott capped off an excellent season with a typically hard-nosed 24 disposals and eight tackles, while the returning Schofield (16 disposals, one goal) threatened in the front half and veteran skipper Kitchin (19 disposals, one goal) was also excellent.
The WAFL grand final between East Fremantle and Peel Thunder gets underway at 3:20pm on Sunday at Optus Stadium and is being broadcast live on 91.3 SportFM.
IMAGE: WA FOOTBALL