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Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - 3:48 PM
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The Peel Development team arrived at Steel Blue Oval keen to put up a much more competitive display than the last time the 2 sides met. The earlier clash saw Swans destroy the Thunder by 125 points in what was probably the low point of our season. Heading into the clash, both teams were on 6 wins and a game outside the 5. Peel were coming off a disappointing result against Subiaco, having lead by 4 goals at half time, before being overrun and losing by 9 points.

The Thunder lost the promoted Chris Wrigley and Calvin Thorne to League, while key position player, Matt Piggott was ruled out with hamstring tightness. Aaron Victor was also a late, late withdrawal in the warm up with Reece Dillon, Jackson Burkett, Jackson Capurso and Zac Beckman returning to the team.

It was a wet and windy first quarter at Steel Blue, with Swans kicking with the advantage of a 2-3 goal breeze. The Black Ducks dominated field position for the quarter with 20 inside 50’s to 4 but the Thunder defended stoutly and manage to take a 4 point advantage into the 2nd, having kicked the only goal of the quarter through a clever snap by Ash Humphreys.

The rain cleared slightly in the 2nd, but the Thunder couldn’t take advantage and once again Swans had the better of the quarter and took a 3 point lead into half time. Swans lead the Inside 50 count 32-12 and were playing the better football but the Thunder were hanging in there and were fairly dogged in their approach to the contest. Brett Milward and Cameron Hayden-Quartermaine were looking lively when the ball got forward but we weren’t getting it in there nearly enough. The clearances were even but Swans were more damaging with their ball use and Peel were struggling to move the ball effectively out from defence.

The rain picked up in the 3rd quarter and Swans once again pushed the ball forward, locking it exclusively in their forward half. Some critical errors down back allowed 2 quick goals to Swans inside the first 5 minutes of the quarter and from that point they dominated the term, though their wastefulness in front of goal (3.6) left the door ajar for the Thunder.

Heading into the last trailing by 27 points, but with the breeze and clearing conditions, we wanted to attack the game head on- encouraging the players to be bolder with our ball movement. For the most part we endeavoured to do this but couldn’t quite claw close enough to put Swans under any real pressure. Both teams kicked 2 goals in the last and Swans ran out 30 point winners. At no stage did we feel we had any strong momentum in the contest, but the boys fought on and in the end a poor 3rd quarter once again came back to haunt us. Though it was a much more competitive display than the last time we met, Swans still didn’t really see the best we have to offer, which was disappointing.

Better players for the Thunder were Luke Strnadica, who had a strong battle in the ruck against Troy Yukich but found more of the ball around the ground, James Kirby, who recovered from a slow start to provide some strong run off the wing, Corey Morris, who had a strong first half before fading in the 2nd, Michael Humble, who laid a game high 15 tackles to go with his 16 disposals and Reece Dillon, who played in an unfamiliar position down back and battled away hard. Defenders Jackson Capurso, Dixon Wight, Josh McMahon and Will Zilko battled manfully after being under siege for most of the day.

The last 2 losses have closed the door on the slim finals chances we had, but the group is determined to continue to work on areas of our game we’ve identified for improvement. Our last 3 clashes are against top 5 sides, culminating in our final match against minor premiers, South Fremantle. We see this as a great opportunity to measure ourselves against the best and reinforce the improvement the group has made over the year.