Mark Moody has pulled off a stunning upset in his first game as Peel coach, guiding the Thunder to a 29-point victory over South Fremantle at Fremantle Oval yesterday.
Moody was pitch-forked into the role as caretaker coach of the Mandurah-based club after they sacked Trevor Williams last Monday.
The Peel board grew short of patience with Williams after heavy losses against East Fremantle (87 points) and Swan Districts (91 points), elevating his assistant, Moody, to the league job.
Boasting a strong playing, coaching and administrative background in the SANFL and South Australian suburban amateurs, Moody had the dream start.
Peel put the turmoil of the week behind them, eking out a gritty 21.8 (134) to 15.15 (105) victory in captain Brendon Jones’ 150th game.
Moody said the win was a massive boost for the Thunder.
“It was solely about the footy club, not about any individual,” he said. “We want to set a foundation going forward, get rid of our previous culture and create a new one; it’s as simple as that.”
Moody said while it wasn’t the ideal way to get a coaching job, he was happy to get the chance.
“I’m really stoked that the footy club had seen something in me to give me the role,” he said.
“Going forward I want to make sure that we as a club grow and move in the right direction.
“At the end of the day I have got nothing to lose. I am here just in a caretaker role and if I can touch these guys in some manner and give them something and they take something out of it, then that’s a win for me.
“I’m excited. I’ve got eight games and I just have to do the best I can.”
and make sure we move in the same direction.
“I can’t dwell on what happened in the past. I have to go forward and it’s the same with the players.”
Moody said he sensed a change in the players at training last Tuesday.
“There was a lot of intensity. We changed and tickled a few things on the track and today showed that if we play high intensity footy, we can mix it with the best,” he said.
Peel started positively and led by 10 points at the first change, stretching the advantage to 40 points at half-time after outscoring the Bulldogs by eight goals to three in the second term.
Jones was everywhere in the first two quarters, gathering 18 possessions, seven tackles and delivering the ball inside 50m five times. He finished the match with 34 possessions, nine tackles, seven clearances and nine inside 50s.
The 26-year-old was playing in his 49th game for the Thunder after 101 for Perth.
Rival skipper Ryan Cook toiled hard for South Fremantle with ruckman Sean Tighe, Toby McGrath, Ben Saunders and Matthew Oliveri.
The only sour note for the winners came in the dying minutes when Fremantle squad member Anthony Morabito was carried from the field on a stretcher after receiving a heavy knock to the jaw.
But he recovered to join teammates in post-match celebrations and looked to have no lasting effects.