WAFL 2022: Peel Thunder storm to to opening round win over East Fremantle on back of final-term blitz

Headshot of Jackson Barrett
Jackson BarrettThe West Australian
Peel's Blair Bell celebrates a goal.
Camera IconPeel's Blair Bell celebrates a goal. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

Fremantle draftee Karl Worner and forgotten teammates Connor Blakely and Mitch Crowden have starred as Peel Thunder ran rampant in the final term to defeat East Fremantle by 32 points.

The Thunder kicked seven goals to one in the last quarter to record a 17.8 (110) to 11.12 (78) victory at Lane Group Stadium on Good Friday.

Warner, who was rookie drafted by the Dockers in the off-season, had 31 disposals and kicked two goals on debut, while Blakely also had 31 and Crowden kicked two majors, including a goal of the year contender.

But the Thunder, and the Dockers, did finish the day with a pair of injury concerns — Joel Hamling and Joel Western both finishing the contest on the bench.

Hamling came off for treatment during the first quarter but played almost all of the remainder of the match, before coming to the bench in the fourth quarter and emerging with ice on his right knee.

Peel's Joel Hamling came from the ground with a knee injury.
Camera IconPeel's Joel Hamling came from the ground with a knee injury. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

The day could hardly have started any better for the Thunder, with skipper Ben Hancock racing away from the first centre bounce to deliver to a contest inside 50.

Tyrone Thorne burst through the ensuing stoppage to kick their first goal after just 45 seconds.

Blaine Boekhorst kicked the Sharks’ first for the day, before a quick pair of majors from Blair Bell and debutant Riley Smith gave Peel the upper hand.

Worner made quite the early impression with a blistering 10-disposal opening term on a wing, while teammate Liam Henry made hay on the other side.

Mitch Crowden starred for Peel Thunder against East Fremantle.
Camera IconMitch Crowden starred for Peel Thunder against East Fremantle. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

Trailing by three points at the first change, the visitors started the second term with a trio of missed chances, before Lachlan Bailey broke the duck with a smart set shot finish deep in a pocket.

Sharks gun Jonathon Marsh’s first of the afternoon sparked a passionate celebration, thumping his chest after nailing a set shot.

Sharks ruck Brynn Teakle cooled the influence of Lloyd Meek in the ruck battle and his side turned the tide in midfield as Milan Murdock quietened Thorne to a murmour and Boekhorst and Tom Bennett took over.

Ty Anderson, who was parachuted from country footy to debut for the Thunder, pounced on a loose ball and kicked a clever maiden goal on the run, while Docker Mitch Crowden converted a long-range set shot.

But it would be Marsh again, slotting home a set shot in the shadows of both the grandstand and half-time, to narrow the margin back to two points.

Bell was injected into midfield in an effort to stem the tide in the third and Ryan Bennell kicked two goals to keep them in the contest.

The Sharks’ seven-point three-quarter-time lead was quashed in rapid time by a flurry of Thunder goals as Bennell added another, before Crowden curled a ball home with his left foot while running straight at the boundary in the pocket.

Warner kicked a major, before top 10 draft pick Jye Amiss added his first in league footy as the home side coasted to the line.


PEEL THUNDER 3.1, 7.3, 10.4, 17.8 (110)

EAST FREMANTLE 2.4, 6.7, 10.11, 11.12 (78)

Goals – PEEL THUNDER: R Bennell 3 B Bell 2 M Crowden 2 L Cullen 2 K Worner 2 J Amiss T Anderson R Smith T Thorne J Treacy J Western. EAST FREMANTLE: J Marsh 3 L Bailey T Bennett B Boekhorst M Burton C Leggett A Montauban D O’Reilly C Smith.

Best - PEEL THUNDER: M Crowden K Worner C Blakely L Meek T Thorne R Bennell. EAST FREMANTLE: C Eardley B Boekhorst B Teakle T Bennett J Marsh.

Injuries - PEEL THUNDER: J Hamling (knee).

Umpires: M Adams J Kerr NShaw. Crowd: About 2000 at Lane Group Stadium.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails