Peel Thunder Colts finals campaign comes to an end

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 11:39 AM
The Peel Thunder Colts season came to an end in the Preliminary final against Swan Districts on Sunday, going down by 22 points.
After the game we spoke to head coach, Brad Dodd, about the finals campaign and the season in general. 
A topsy turvy finals campaign, losing to Swans twice and beating East Fremantle in a thriller, how did you see the Finals?
BD: We played some really good football in patches. We thought we were really strong in our first game against Swans but didn’t use the ball particularly well and didn’t take our opportunities going forward. It is an area we’ve focused on all year- being able to put a value on the ball, particularly inside 50. We almost won all of our major KPIs for that match but Swans had a touch more class when it counted and made their opportunities count. 
We were really happy with our game against East Fremantle, despite the fact the Sharks hit back and had a chance to win the game at the end. It was a great learning experience as our midfield become reactionary in the last quarter and that fed into the Sharks attacking mindset. In the end we were lucky to win. 
The group had set themselves for the rematch against Swans but apart from the first 10 minutes, where we had the majority of the play, Swans were the better team.  At one stage it looked like it could blow out so we were really happy the boys fought it out. While it was disappointing to fall short of a Grand Final berth, the players and coaching staff go away wth some pretty strong feedback.  
Through the course of the season, Peel was a high scoring team but that dried up in the Finals.   Is that an area of focus going forward?
BD: A little bit was our ball use going forward, especially in the first final against Swans. All our forwards seemed to collapse on each other and run into each others space.  It was a focus for the next 2 finals and though we didn’t kick high scores, the space and opportunities were there- we dropped a lot of marks we’d usually make and didn’t convert when we needed to. Our 2 key forwards in Jack Sears and Ben Middleton have only just turned 17 and have carried the burden of playing as key forwards in their first season. Add in the other forwards we used in Deon Welhan, Clifton Stack, Jake Willis, Tyrone Thorne and Brendan Cooke, who are all 17 year olds, it’s a fantastic learning experience for them to take into next season. Being able to stand up under pressure when the team needs you the most and being able to deliver against quality opponents. Tyrone Thorne was well held in the first final V Swans but responded and was our best player the second time around. That’s what you want to see from your young players. 
A bit of a surprise in the East Fremantle game with, leading goalkicker, Lachlan Cullen playing in defence.  What was the thinking behind that?
BD: The Sharks had an extremely talented group and some dangerous players up forward. We didn’t have a natural match up for Dylan Curley, who is an excitement machine, and it become apparent that Lachie was our best match up physically. It wasn’t a total reach, Lachie had done the whole pre-season training as a back and had played the first 2 games down there. Lachie Beverly got the match up on Dylan O’Reilly and did a fantastic job. James Ewing went to Luke Jackson. Against Swans, Kyle Penny shut down Jarrad Cameron after Cameron had kicked 4 in the first final. Beverly, Penny and Ewing will all be back next season and should take great confidence in how they performed in the Finals. 
Now that the season has come to a close, what are you over-arching thoughts on how the season went?
BD: Really happy with how the players attacked the program. With South Fremantle, we were the youngest squad for the year, which gives us a great leg up into next season. We managed to play 50 players, with 6 being 16 year olds. We used 28 players across the 3 finals with 13 of those being 17 or younger. I’d like to think that exposure will be really beneficial to those players as they head into the off-season and next season. Where do I need to get better? Our coaching group moved forward as a group and it was great to see our assistants in Michael McCann, Danny Chartres and Jayden Heuer take charge of a game, planning and implementing training and coaching the team on match day. Proud of James Sturrock and Lachlan Riley who, through prolonged good form, played League football. Overall, I was really happy with what we delivered. 
Where to from here?
BD: Our Talent Manager, John Deitz, and I will be conducting our Exit Interviews over the next few weeks. We have the Colts and Senior Best and Fairest in early October before a short break and re-charge before hitting pre-season for the 2019 season!
Finally, thoughts on the Grand Final between Subiaco and Swans?
BD: Subiaco have well and truly had Swans measure across the season. Similar to us against Swans, who we struggled to beat. Having said that, I think Swans can win this one. They’re well coached and have some genuine weapons that if they get off the chain and cause some damage.  Swans by 2 points. 
Brad Dodd - Colts Coach