South Fremantle ended their season on a positive note with a 30-point win over a gallant Peel Thunder at Fremantle Oval today.
The visitors finished the day with just 19 fit men after Anthony Morabito, Clancee Pearce and Josh Mathers all failed to see out the game.
Morabito copped a knock to a knee and didn’t return after half-time, while Pearce left the field following a heavy hit early in the third quarter.
Mathers was taken off on a stretcher after colliding with a teammate early in the final term.
South Fremantle spearhead Ben Saunders booted five goals in his side’s 14.20 (104) to 10.14 (74) win to put himself on the verge of winning a second Bernie Naylor Medal.
Saunders finished the year with 59 goals and sits 11 clear of Subiaco’s Matt Boland, who will line up in the final game of the home and away season against East Fremantle tomorrow.
Peel controlled proceedings early on the back of a hard-working midfield unit headed by veteran Brendon Jones and led by 24 points at quarter-time.
The margin would have been greater had the Thunder not failed to take full advantage of their dominance in front of goal.
The wasteful display would come back to haunt them.
Peel had four majors on the board before young gun Jarrod Pickett finally broke the drought for South Fremantle with a fine set shot from deep in the pocket.
It sparked a run of five consecutive goals for the Bulldogs, who snatched the lead during time-on of the second quarter when Saunders out-bodied an opponent and kicked truly.
But Peel held a narrow two-point buffer at the main break after Michael Wood responded with a calm set shot.
The teams went goal-for-goal in the third term as the lead changed hands three times.
Despite being undermanned, Peel pushed South Fremantle all the way in the last quarter and were still within a kick during time-on.
But Saunders, Haiden Schloithe and Josh Pullman sealed the result with consecutive goals before league debutant Simon Panizza put the icing on the cake with his first goal.
It was a good day all around for South Fremantle, who won both the reserves (42 points) and colts (109) matches.
| GOALS - SOUTH FREMANTLE: Saunders 5; Schloithe, Bewick, Pullman 2; White, Pickett, Panizza. PEEL: Apeness 3; Thonrton 2; Bootsma, Hannath, Duffy, Bradley, Wood.|
BEST - SOUTH FREMANTLE: Bewick, Hams, Saunders, Schloithe, Guglielmana, Bairstow. PEEL: De Boer, Ballard, Jones, Griffin, Sheridan, Hannath.