The reigning premiers proved too strong for East Fremantle on Saturday, walking away with an 86-point win at Bendigo Bank Stadium.
From the first bounce, Peel showed they were still a force to be reckoned with, making it hard for the Sharks to get on the board. Disposal errors did not help the Sharks cause with many turnovers hurting East Fremantle. By the 7-minute mark of the quarter Peel had kicked the first three goals, before Watson came through with East Fremantle’s first. When Peake was able to sneak a set-shot right on the first quarter siren the boys went in with hope, especially kicking with the breeze in the second.
Peel strangled the Sharks, thus the boys couldn’t get any real clean movement going. As a result, East was held goalless while the Thunder kicked two more, taking a decent lead of 40 points in to the half time break.
The Sharks came out determined to improve and for the first 6 minutes kept Peel at bay, but a 10-minute burst led by Leroy Jetta saw the Thunder kick the next 5 goals of the match to put the result beyond doubt, despite impressive goals from Liam Anthony and Jonathon Marsh.
The fourth quartered showed some encouraging signs for the Sharks, where the players were urged by coach Wiley to take the game on. Whilst the heat may have gone from the game, Old East’s were able to send the ball inside 50 a total of 15 times to Peel’s 7, but couldn’t impact the scoreboard, kicking 1.6 for the final quarter.
Many of East Fremantle's biggest ball winners and most consistent contributors came in the back half led by Jayden Schofield who compiled 35 possessions and 10 marks. Ryan Lester-Smith also gathered 28 disposals while taking 14 marks and Andrew Stephen had 22 touches and 11 marks on return to the league side.
Jonathon Marsh worked hard for the Sharks to finish with 27 possessions, eight marks and a goal while Tom Marshall, in just his third match performed a run-with role against R.O’Brien admirably, restricting the 2013 Sandover Medallist to 23 possessions, whilst gathering 21 touches himself.
The Shark’s bye has come at a good time, giving the boys a chance to regroup before taking on Perth at Lathlain Park on April 8.
The Development League looked like they were going to register their second win for the season, but were beaten by a mere two points after falling away in the final quarter.
The first term was a goal spree, with both teams registering six goals apiece. The Sharks managed to break away a little in the second, taking a three-goal lead into the half time break, however couldn’t make the most of their ascendency.
After an even third quarter, Peel kicked four goals to our two in the final stanza, and despite the Sharks dominating the disposal count, weren't able to take the four points.
Dion Anthony led all possession winners on the ground with 46 disposals, eight marks and a goal. Alex Howson lead the scoreboard, kicking 5 (all in the first half) with Jack Perham following closely with 4.
Youngster Ben Harding had 29 touches, Corey Homes and Brendan Tingey 20 and Miles Franklin 18.
Like the Development League, our Colts went down in the last quarter to lose a close one by 12 points.
The game was hard fought and close all day and despite the loss, the Sharks should walk away with some confidence in matching one of the strongest teams in the competition, especially with rotations down two during the final quarter.
Drew Blurton kicked two for the Shark, while Jackson Bennett, Jaimon Alone, Joshua Ritchie and Ambrose Ryan managed one.
Jayden Quill finished with 25 disposals, Jaimon Alone had 23, 11 clearances and a goal while Gabriel Parfitt had 23 and Liam Rajanayagam 22.