East Fremantle’s strong early season form continued today with an 18-point win over Peel at Bendigo Bank Stadium.
The Sharks led by as much as 35 points late in the fourth term before a late surge from the Thunder, but the siren ultimately cut off the charge from the home side and saw the visitors run out 12.14 (86) to 10.8 (68) winners.
The O’Brien brothers were terrific for the Sharks, with Brock gathering 29 disposals, Rory chipping in with 28 and both kicking important goals.
Tom Sheridan was the Thunder’s best with 32 disposals, five tackles and a goal through the midfield.
Peel were boosted before the game by the inclusion of Fremantle emergency Michael Apeness, but it was East Fremantle who had all the early running once the ball was bounced.
A snapped goal from former West Coast midfielder Bradd Dalziell opened the account for the visitors, with Sandover medallist Rory O’Brien adding a second for his side minutes later.
The Sharks dominated possession and were able to convert it into a healthy lead on the scoreboard, but they missed a number of shots on goal to keep the home side in the game.
Two goals to Dockers rookie Craig Moller from as many opportunities helped the Thunder keep the margin to just 14 points at quarter-time.
Peel burst out of the gates in the second term, with strong-marking forward Michael Apeness kicking a goal in the opening two minutes.
Pint-sized midfielder Matthew Brown joined in soon after, bringing the Sharks’ lead back to just three points.
Jack Perham steadied the ship for the visitors with two goals against the breeze, but another two goals to the Thunder through Brown and Moller ensured they would go into the long break trailing by just four points.
East Fremantle had the wind in the third term but it was Peel who commanded the opening minutes of the quarter.
Brady Grey and Jack Hannath both had near misses on goal within two minutes and when Tom Sheridan found the big sticks the Thunder were in the lead for the first time in the game.
But it was a lead they couldn’t hold on to for long.
Cam Eardley was the first to goal for the Sharks, with Brett Peake, Jordan Dorotich and Brock O’Brien making four straight for the visitors.
By three-quarter time the Sharks had stretched the lead to 23 points in their favour.
Sean Henson chalked up another goal for the visitors in the opening stages of the fourth quarter in what looked like a routine win.
However the Thunder had one last charge left in them.
A booming Hannath goal from 60 metres sparked the home side and a ripping set shot from Jones got them back in the game.
|GOALS – EAST FREMANTLE: Dalziell, Perham 2; R O’Brien, Boyle, Eardley, Peake, Dorotich, O’Brien, Henson, A Tropiano. PEEL: Moller 3; M Brown 2, Apeness, Sheridan, Hannath, Jones, Dann.|
BEST - EAST FREMANTLE: B O’Brien, R O’Brien, Dalziell, Stephen, Eardley. PEEL: Sheridan, B Jones, Hannath, Silvagni, M Brown, Moller.