Round 12 Preview v Peel Thunder

Saturday, June 10, 2017 - 2:36 AM by Chris Pike

COMING off the high from the second greatest derby victory in history, South Fremantle looks to back it up against the reigning premiers Peel Thunder at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday.

Last time the two teams met at Fremantle Community Bank Oval was in last year's preliminary final. On that occasion, Peel prevailed by 39 points on its way to the maiden premiership breakthrough to end the season of the Bulldogs.

They have already met once this season at Bendigo Bank Stadium with the Bulldogs earning a measure of revenge on that occasion in Round 3 with an emphatic 43-point victory.

That game saw the beginning of a five-game winning run for South Fremantle and a four-game losing slide for Peel.

Following losses to Subiaco and East Perth prior to the state game break, South Fremantle hit back in remarkable fashion on Monday beating East Fremantle by 145 points in the WA Day Foundation Derby at East Fremantle.

Peel, meanwhile, ended its four-game losing run prior to the state game with three successive victories over Claremont, Swan Districts and Perth. But last Saturday they lost on almost the last kick of the day to Subiaco by four points on home turf.

Player Column – Tim Kelly Round 12 
Coach Post Match – Todd Curley WA Day 
Match Day Info – Round 12 
Kelly, Schloithe and Bulldogs hammer Sharks by 145 points 

South Fremantle comes into Saturday's clash in second position on the WAFL ladder with a 7-3 record and the best percentage in the competition. The Bulldogs are two games behind Subiaco but a game and percentage ahead of third spot.

Peel holds a 5-5 record heading into the contest but also has a good percentage, the third best in the league. The Thunder will end the round in fourth spot with a victory but will be in danger of slipping behind East Perth and out of the top five with a loss with the Royals having a game in hand.

Despite losing to Peel in last year's preliminary final, South Fremantle beat the Thunder in both games during the home and away season, and following the Round 3 win this year will be confident going into Saturday's clash.

South Fremantle remains the highest-scoring team in the WAFL averaging 111.2 points a game obviously helped by booting 28 goals on Monday against East Fremantle. 

Peel might only be scoring 77.3 points a game, but they have the best defence in the league conceding just 66.6 points. The Bulldogs are second best, though, at 67.7.

South Fremantle is the highest-scoring team in first, third and fourth quarters in the WAFL this season while Peel concedes the lowest scores in the first and third terms. They have only given up 97 points in 10 third quarters in 2017.

Coming off the second biggest derby victory in history, there's little reason for change at South Fremantle but there are a host of players looking to have their form rewarded from the table-topping reserves team.

Steven Edwards returned from injury on Monday and impressed with 20 possessions and four goals to put himself back in the selection mix.

Brendan Verrier delivered another strong performance as well with 32 possessions, seven tackles and a goal while Kyle Russell was another solid contributor with 18 disposals.

Those three have been added to South Fremantle's squad but highlighting the club's strength right now is that 46 possessions and 12 marks from Shaun Bewick, and 29 touches, six marks, five tackles and a goal from Jarrod Parry wasn’t even enough for either to get a look in this week.

Peel will have a host of changes, though, some through injury, some through suspension and then mostly through changes Fremantle has made to its AFL line-up.

The Thunder's side will be strengthened with the addition of 177-game AFL veteran Garrick Ibbotson with Ethan Hughes and Matt Taberner also back from Fremantle.

Peel will lose Brennan Cox, Sam Collins and Tom Sheridan who have earned a call up to the Dockers, but it could be the loss of Ryan Nyhuis that hurts the most against South Fremantle.

He has gone to Brisbane as the travelling emergency when he would have been invaluable against South Fremantle's forward-line where he would have been given the job on either Blaine Johnson or Cory Dell'Olio.

However, the Thunder will retain the services of ruckman Sean Darcy and the experienced Nick Suban.

As for the non AFL-listed players at Peel, Calvin Thorne, Josh Mathers, Michael Humble, Matthew Piggott, Chris Wrigley, Michael Tassone, Jacob Perry and Jackson Capurso are all in the selection mix.

Leroy Jetta goes out injured while premiership forward Blair Bell has been suspended for five matches.

Broadcast – 91.3 SportFM