East Fremantle coach Steve Malaxos doesn't believe in eight-point games.

But he is happy to admit the Sharks' clash with reigning premiers West Perth at Arena Joondalup next weekend will be huge.

East Fremantle knew they simply had to win against Peel Thunder at East Fremantle Oval on Saturday, with the fifth-placed Falcons just one victory behind them and ready to snatch their top-four spot.

But they had to work hard for their 15.10 (100) to 11.9 (75) victory over a Thunder side littered with 13 Fremantle-listed players.

The visitors jumped out of the blocks as smooth-moving Dockers Anthony Morabito, Clancee Pearce and Hayden Crozier dominated possession and a forward line with tall targets Michael Apeness, Scott Gumbleton and Matt Taberner caused all sorts of problems.

But led by captain Mark McGough, 10-game youngster Cameron Eardley and seasoned defender Brock O'Brien, the Sharks made it an arm-wrestle for the remainder of the day, turning a 25-point second- quarter deficit into a significant victory.

"Peel were terrific early and we couldn't match them at all," Malaxos said.

"But after that (start), I was really happy with how the boys played. We just stuck at it and just clawed our way back and started using the ball a bit better."

It was a brave effort for a side which had played a bruising WA Day derby against South Fremantle just five days earlier.

The Sharks, who were without key defender Steven Dodd because of appendicitis, were further challenged when prime mover Bradd Dalziell (gastro) was a late withdrawal.

The result improved East Fremantle to 6-4, but Malaxos stopped short of calling the victory season-defining.

"We sort of don't look at it that way," he said. "It's just a bloody good win. Our home form hasn't been all that great and we really needed to win.

"West Perth are a good team and they're only a game behind and we play them next week.

"It's not (an eight-point game).

"Last time I looked, we got four points for a win."

Morabito continued his terrific comeback from multiple knee reconstructions to be best afield.

The imposing youngster displayed the strength and line-breaking ability that made him a first-round draft selection, finishing with 28 disposals, three goals and 10 inside 50s.

The luckless 22-year-old hasn't played AFL football since 2010 after three knee operations, but his penetrating kicking and searing runs out of congestion caught the eye of everyone at the ground, Malaxos included.

He said he'd love to see Morabito back in AFL ranks.

"The kid deserves to," Malaxos said. "He's been through a lot so he'll get there at some point."

The West Australian

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