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Round 1 WAFL Wrap Up with Jacob Landsmeer - Thanks to The Left Bank

Tuesday, April 2, 2024 - 9:10 AM

East Fremantle’s premiership defence has begun in disappointing fashion, suffering a 19 point defeat to Peel Thunder at Rushton Park on Saturday. 

In a match that saw 15 of the 21 goals scored to the Northern end owing to a strong breeze, it was the home side who capitalised best kicking 11 of their 12 goals in the first and third quarters to push to a 12.10 (82) to 9.9 (63) victory to open their season in fine style. 

It was a rematch of the 2023 decider to open the 2024 season for both sides, Peel Thunder with their annual Easter weekend clash against the Sharks. 

The clash hadn’t been kind to the visitors, having won only once at Rushton Park since 2015. 

Both sides had very different complexions about them heading in to a new season, only 13 of the premiership 22 featuring for East Fremantle while Peel Thunder only called upon seven of their 22 from Grand Final day, welcoming nine debutants to the fold. 

Nathan Wilson opened the scoring for Peel in what was a tight contested start to the game, returning Shark Brynn Teakle producing a brilliant smother before launching a long bomb from outside 50 for the visitors opening goal. 

Josh Schoenfeld pounced on a forward 50 stoppage just minutes later to give the Sharks the lead for the first time, but the Thunder capitalised on their wind advantage in the first term to kick the final three goals of the quarter and lead by 19 points at the first change. 

Teakle and Dockers listed ruckman Liam Reidy were having an enthralling battle in the centre, Milan Murdock in the thick of the action at ground level while Fraser Turner and Tom Bennett were finding the football in the clinches. 

The second term was a dour arm wrestle, East Fremantle dominating territory with the wind advantage but failing to put it on the scoreboard as Peel folded numbers back. 

The only goal of the term came at the two-minute mark as Lachlan Blakiston marked a long kick inside 50 from Jonathon Marsh, converting from just outside the goal square to kick his first goal in WAFL footy. 

The rest of the term saw both teams squander opportunities, East Fremantle kicking 1.3 to Peel’s four behinds to trail by 14 points at the main break. 

The home side regrouped and came out stronger after the break, kicking the first two goals of the third term before Jonathon Marsh struck back for the Sharks, slotting truly from left full forward. 

Jackson McDonald got on the end of some strong movement to boot a major at the top of the goal square, bringing the margin back to 14 points after 13 minutes of the term. 

Peel had all the answers though, Neil Erasmus and Will Brodie supreme in midfield along with captain Ben Hancock as they kicked four goals in a row to push the lead to 38 points. 

A late Jed Hagan goal bought the margin back to 32 points at the final change, East Fremantle coming home with the breeze as they hoped for a barnstorming last quarter in coach Bill Monaghan’s 300th WAFL match as coach. 

That was all but snuffed out by Nathan Wilson’s fifth goal in the opening minutes of the fourth term, but the Sharks never gave up the ghost, kicking the final three goals of the game to reduce the final margin to 19 points. 

Premiership players Cody Leggett and Brayden Lawler (two majors) hit the scoreboard late in the match, Peel playing the conditions better and the cleaner of the two sides to open their 2024 campaign with a victory. 


Reigning Simpson Medallist Murdock worked hard in the clinches, finishing with 27 disposals and 11 tackles to be among his side’s best. 

Tom Bennett moved in to the centre square after half time and had a terrific match, finishing with 24 disposals in his 86th consecutive game, having featured in every match under Bill Monaghan since his arrival at the club. 

Teakle faded slightly after a strong start but still had 13 disposals and 35 hitouts to go with his first term major, while Marsh presented strongly to claim 10 marks and kick 1.2. 

General Manager of Football, Brad Dodd was disappointed to start the club’s premiership defence on a sour note. 

It was a frustrating performance in that we couldn’t get going offensively and we weren’t where we needed to be defensively,” he said. 

“Full credit to Peel, who controlled the stoppages, defended strongly and took their chances.” 

Dodd spoke glowingly of Sharks mentor Monaghan, who became just the fifth WAFL coach to reach 300 games. 

“It’s a fantastic achievement to coach 300 games. Bill joins a rare club and he’s been fantastic for East Fremantle and in getting the group to where they are.” 

The reigning premiers prepare for Claremont in round two at Revo Fitness Stadium, who suffered a two-point loss to West Perth in the season opener at Arena Joondalup on Thursday night. 

The news was better elsewhere for the Sharks reserves and Colts sides, the Reserves opening the day with a 20.10 (130) to 12.7 (79) victory, Ethan Paholski (4 goals) and Josh Cripps (22 disposals and 13 hitouts) among the best players. 

The young guns had strong showing in their twilight clash, keeping Peel to one goal after half time in their 14.14 (98) to 6.11 (47) triumph. 

Declan Pauline had 37 disposals and kicked two goals for the Colts side, while Kindrael Hooker kicked three majors to go with his 19 disposals.