Colts Find New Level in Pre-season

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 1:34 PM

PEEL Thunder’s emerging young talent has reportedly torn up the track this pre-season, and with a new coach at the helm, there is plenty of excitement around the club.

The Thunder’s Colts squad was released on Tuesday, with 42 players on the main list and eight named in a development squad.

There are also nine players from Peel’s country zone in the south west, and Peel Player Development Manager John Deitz said that showed the pathway was strong in that region.

Peel’s track record in recruiting players from that region is strong, with the likes of Essendon’s Ben Howlett and North Melbourne’s Aaron Black following the country pathway to Peel before eventually finding a home at AFL level.

“It’s a really good result, it shows that there is plenty of talent down there, it’s a positive thing and hopefully we can continue building our brand in the south west zone,” Deitz said.

But with new coach Beau Wardman taking up the reins at the end of last season, Deitz said the morale around the group is strong.

“He’s been fantastic in all he has brought in terms of professionalism, organisation and the way he’s embraced the footy club and the program,” he said.

“He’s brought a really good team of coaches with him, and our strength and conditioning staff have got the boys in really good nick.”

And Wardman’s troops are hellbent on impressing their new coach, with the players were supremely fit and ready to make their mark in 2015.

Before Christmas, seven players have run over 15 in the beep test, with Josh Schoenfield recording a 16.1, which illustrated the elite levels of fitness in the group.

“We’re a long way ahead of where we were in terms of fitness, and we’ve had some great results during the time trials as well, so these kids are really cracking in and putting in the hard yards, which is great to see.

A skipper will be named following a training camp later this month, with a captain, two vice-captains and two deputy vice-captains to be named.



Jordan Adams, Zac Beckman, Connor Besci, Robert Bird, Alexander Bray, Jackson Burkett

Alex Cohen, Karl Collard, Damon Cramer, Mitchel Curnow, Hayden Davis, Josh Eddy

Jake greenwell, Chris Howat, Michael Humble, Noah Hura, Liam King, Haydn Matthews,

Kaine May, Joshua McMahon, Braiden McMullen, Nicholas Merritt, Brett Milward,

Travis Naughton, Matthew Nind, Brandon Penny, Joshua Porteous, Keegan Power

Cody Schnaars, Joshua Schoenfield, Samuel Shackles, Blake Shanahan, Luke Shepherd,

Brandon Smith, Deakin Stein, Calvin Thorne, Jack Tomerini, Josh Webb, Dixon Wight



Tom Boyle, Mathew Digney, Reece Dillon, Trent Goodrick, Dylan Heasman, Ash Humphreys

Jacob Perry, Lewis Smith, Mahli King


Monday, December 8, 2014 - 2:35 PM

The Peel Thunder Colts Squad is thundering through the pre-season as they enter the 5th week of the pre-Christmas sessions. 91 players from within the Peel Thunder local and South West zone are being put through their paces by the coaching staff, headed by Beau Wardman, along with strength and conditioning staff Dave Norton and Ashton Bell. The players have taken part in a wide range of sessions, from endurance running, to sprint work, strength and conditioning, skill sessions and testing, beach work as well as all players taking part in a leadership and goal setting session facilitated by Jenny Carter.

The program sees the first intra-squad trial matches being played this Saturday, 13th December at Ross McLarty Oval, Pinjarra, which will give selectors a great opportunity to cast their eye over potential squad members under the pressure of match simulation. Player Development Manager John Deitz said that it is an exciting time for all players involved “All players are working extremely hard on the training track and there is a great feel amongst the entire squad. The scratch matches are a great opportunity for players to show the coaching group what they are capable of under the pressure of a game situation. All squad members are looking in really good condition, so players should be excited about the opportunity the games present to push their case for selection.” The games will be sure to provide plenty of thought for selectors who have to reduce the squad to 60 players heading into the Christmas break.

Deitz also was full of praise for the new look off-field team “We have been able to source some excellent coaches led by Beau, who along with John Kennedy, Nick Visser, Bob Dewar and 4th year assistant coach Craig Milward have been really well prepared, enthusiastic and positive which is creating a great environment for the playing group. The work of Dave Norton and Ashton Bell with Strength and Conditioning, along with assistance from Ric Curnow, Scott Goodrick and new physio Nick Krummenacher has been second to none in terms of the professionalism and expectations, and it has been pleasing to see all players really buying in to the expectations and standards being set.”

The scratch matches will commence at 8:30am at Ross McLarty Oval, Pinjarra for any members or supporters who may wish to cast their eye over some of the young talent Peel Thunder will have on display in 2015. 

Walsh becomes a Blue

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 3:01 PM

THE AFL dream of Peel youngster Brad Walsh has been realised, after the midfielder was snared up by Carlton with pick 24 in the NAB AFL Rookie Draft on Wednesday.

The Rockingham product has been hailed as a ready-made leader by Carlton’s National Recruiting Manager Shane Rogers, after leading WA’s under-18s side this year at the National Championships, the AIS-AFL Academy on the European tour, and also WA’s under-16s to a championship in 2012.

Walsh said following the disappointment of missing out in last week’s National Draft, he had little idea Carlton would call out his name during the rookie draft.

“It’s been pretty nerve-wracking, the last few years have come down to this moment, so I was pretty devastated last week but stayed optimistic and it’s paid off in the end,” Walsh said.

“I had no idea Carlton were looking at me, I had an interview with them earlier this year but I hadn’t had much contact in the lead-up so it was a surprise.”

Rogers said leadership qualities were just one of Walsh’s many attributes.

“Brad is one of those kids who would go to war and die for you,” Rogers said.

“He’s a big-bodied midfielder with an exceptional work rate and will fit straight into our team.”

Walsh joins a list packed with some of the AFL’s most complete midfielders, headlined by dual Brownlow Medallist Chris Judd, skipper Marc Murphy and reigning John Nicholls Medallist Bryce Gibbs.

“I just want to go over there and absorb as much as I can [from those players], they are absolute superstars and I will probably be a little star-struck at the start, but I just want to learn as much as I can.”

Peel Football Manager Andrew McBean said Walsh’s entry into the AFL system was indicative of the club’s strong development system.

“He’s fairly diligent at training, goes about his business professionally and it shows what can happen when you put all your eggs in the one basket,” he said.

“We look at Brad as a template for those within the system, so they can see the rewards of hard work and professionalism.”

Already armed with impressive professionalism and work ethic courtesy of his time in the AIS-AFL Academy this year, Walsh is primed to hit his first AFL pre-season hard.

“I have to work and prove myself, so stay in the right mindset and work as hard as I can,” he said. 

“The pathway and AIS programs have been a real help for me in order to help make the huge step up, so I think I have an understanding of what it’s going to be like.”

Walsh has already been welcomed into the club by fellow WA draftee Blaine Boekhorst, who is a good friend of Walsh’s stepbrother.

But aside from a quick round of golf with his Dad, Walsh has little time to collect his thoughts, as he was on the plane to Melbourne less than 24 hours after becoming a Blue.


FOOTYS BACK – Colts launch into 2015 pre-season

Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 4:05 PM

The 2015 Peel Thunder Colts pre-season got underway on Sunday November 2, with over 85 players from around the district turning up to Bendigo Bank Stadium for the Induction Day. The players were put through their paces with a first up Beep-Test to measure their off-season conditioning and provide the base line for Strength & Conditioning coach David Norton to plan individual programs for the players.

Head coach Beau Wardman was pleased with the condition in which the young group had returned from their break and said the entire squad had plenty of work ahead to atone for a disappointing 2014 season.

“It was terrific to see so many players turn-up today, and as a coaching group we are really looking forward to the opportunity to develop a good work ethic and positive culture at the club over the summer months which will be prepare us for season 2015” Wardman said.

Not all of the players were able to complete the testing with some carry-over injuries from the end of season 2014, however a few certainly lit up the track with some early form. Joshua Schoenfield, Alex Cohen and Reece Dillon topped the list on the beep test, whilst Joshua backed it up in the kicking test with the top score of the group. Nicholas Simpson, Corey Ugle and Zac Beckman were not far behind in what was a promising start to the pre-season.

Player Development Manager John Deitz said that the day was a great success and should set a positive tone for the season. 

“It was fantastic to see so many young players from within our zone turn up in great condition and enthusiastic about taking their football to the next level. With an extremely professional and organised coaching group, as well as some key off field appointments with our support staff, the tone has been set for what promises to be an exciting and challenging pre-season phase."

Training will commence on Monday 10 November at Bortolo Park, Greenfields from 5:30pm and will include a variety of activities to best prepare the team for the demands of the WAFL Colts competition in the lead-up to the Christmas break.


Stay tuned for regular updates on the Colts program.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 4:01 PM

TOP flight AFL football is coming to Mandurah again next year, after the AFL announced that the West Coast Eagles will tackle Carlton at Bendigo Bank Stadium on Friday, February 27 as part of the NAB Challenge pre-season competition.

Peel Thunder CEO Bill Kostandas said it again highlighted the elite facility at Bendigo Bank Stadium, and it was great recognition by the AFL to stage the match in Mandurah.

“The support and hard work by the City of Mandurah and the West Australia Football Commission is greatly appreciated by Peel Thunder in getting the game here,” Kostandas said.

Bendigo Bank Stadium hosted an AFL pre-season fixture in 2013, when Fremantle thumped the Western Bulldogs by 109 points, while West Coast last played in Mandurah in 2012, defeating Port Adelaide by five points in front of a strong crowd of 9000.

While the prospect of seeing some of the AFL’s superstars in the flesh would be enticing for both young and old supporters, Kostandas said the game will also benefit the local community.

“The young aspiring players in our region will get to see some of their favourite players demonstrating their skills and athleticism which will no doubt drive their ambitions and dreams to one day be playing at the same level as their AFL heroes,” he said.

“The local business community will benefit greatly as well because people from Victoria and also from our great state will travel to Mandurah and in turn provide a boost the local economy.”

AFL General Manager – Broadcasting, Scheduling and Major Projects Simon Lethlean said fans in regional and suburban communities were “unashamedly” the focus for next year’s NAB Challenge.

AFL club members will receive free entry to the match, which Lethlean said would be great for attendances and was part of the league’s ploy to bring the game back to fans in 2015.


Volunteers Required

Monday, October 6, 2014 - 1:49 PM

Expressions of interest are being requested for volunteers whom would like to be involved with Peel Thunder next season and beyond.


The positions we have currently that would need to be filled in season 2015 are:


Colts                                                                  Reserves                                            League 

Team Manager                                                  Team Manager                                   Game day runners

Game day runners                                             Game day runners                              Trainer


Other positions

Assistants in property


All grades will be seeking water boys for game day and training.


If you are able to help out in any possible way please contact Brad Bootsma on 0402 799 944 or via email on football manager for further information.


Look forward to hearing from any potential volunteers whom would like to get involved with our Club.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 10:25 AM

Call 9535 3448 and book your table now for this evening with Kevin Sheedy and Billy Brownless

Shepherd upbeat about Peel future

Monday, September 8, 2014 - 12:12 PM - by Alex Paull

PEEL Thunder will use the success of fellow alignment club East Perth as a template for future success, following a year where plenty of positives emerged.

The first official year of Peel’s alignment with the Fremantle Football Club was marked by great improvement from a number of key young players, and the Thunder will now use the year as a platform to launch into 2015.

Despite finishing eighth with four wins, the Thunder were competitive in most matches this season, but a combination of injuries and lapses in concentration cost them in a number of games, including twice against reigning premiers West Perth, and South Fremantle.

While there were some heartbreaking losses, the 65-point win against Perth in Round 19 saw the Thunder break a number of club records in what was easily the most dominant performance of the season.

Peel coach Cam Shepherd said the next step for Peel was to fast-track some of the young talent at the club, in the hope that they develop into quality WAFL footballers.

“When we look at our own backyard, players like Brendon Jones, Eddie Dann and Matt Brown have been outstanding, and we’ve seen some great improvement in local kids like Josh Mathers,” Shepherd said.

“We need to fast track our other young players to make them really strong WAFL footballers, and that’s where we are at the moment. If you look at East Perth, they have a real strong core of 10 or so quality WAFL players, and that’s where we have to be.”

The development of young Fremantle talent through the alignment has also been a success, with the likes of Jacob Ballard dominating in the midfield, while Matt Taberner has cemented his spot in a finals-bound side and Hayden Crozier has been impressive in nine games.

The development of Taberner in particular was recognised when he was nominated as the Round 22 NAB AFL Rising Star following a strong performance against Brisbane.

Shepherd said it was proof that the alignment was strong.

“Taberner has been doing it at Peel, and the really positive thing is what he’s been doing at Peel, he’s taken to the next level, and from our point of view that’s the fruits of the alignment, and I know we are as delighted with his development as Fremantle are,” Shepherd said.

“We like to see our young, developing Fremantle players get their opportunity and stay there.”

This year 52 players played for Peel, and Shepherd said the key to the club improving will be the natural improvement from young players such as teenagers Brad Walsh, Dylan Winton and Ben Hancock.

“What we have to do is when we come back, we train hard, we get them stronger and they will become naturally more mature, we will then again educate them with the game plan,” Shepherd said.

“We’re retaining Jones, Dann and Bootsma, so they’re probably our three best mature-age players, and we have to build our base.”

While Shepherd said the expected return of wildcards James Hawksley and Cruize Garlett after injury-interrupted years would also bolster the playing stocks, he said the club would be chasing the best players available to complement the list.

“We want to be fairly aggressive in getting the best quality players available into the club who want to strive to play with an aligned club with the opportunity to go further,” he said.

“We probably need hard-running utility players, blokes who can wing, half back, half forward with outstanding fitness.”

Shepherd said the highlights of the season were threefold for him.

“One has been the development of Brendon Jones and Eddie Dann as quality WAFL players, and Jones coming back and having the standout year he’s had, and Eddie Dann coming back from community footy and playing so strongly for us,” Shepherd said.

“Another has been the development of Matt Taberner and Hayden Crozier into Dockers’ top side, we have to recognise that they have been with us for quite some period of time and they’ve come on.

“And the third highlight has been the opportunity for our local players to perform when they may not have though there was much there due to alignment.”

Fairytale comeback capped off for Brendon Jones

Saturday, September 6, 2014 - 10:47 PM - by Alex Paull

THIS time last year, Brendon Jones was being sent off into the sunset as a retiree, but he has capped of a remarkable comeback by winning his second Tuckey Medal as Peel Thunder’s best and fairest.

After coming out of retirement this year Jones, who has committed to playing next year, maintained an outstanding level of consistency over the year and was unlucky to miss out on a State debut.

It’s also the fifth consecutive season that Jones has finished in the top two since crossing from Perth at the end of 2009, where he won the best and fairest in 2008.

Jones joins the likes of Scott Simister, Darren Bolton, Derek Hall, Daniel Haines and Rory O’Brien as multiple Tuckey Medallists.

The prolific 28-year-old averaged 24 disposals across 20 games, while his 482 possessions ranked in the top 10 of the WAFL competition.

He was brought out of retirement at the request of coach Cam Shepherd, and his leadership of a young and inexperienced midfield was outstanding.

Hard-nosed Fremantle rookie Jacob Ballard was runner-up in a remarkable season for the 19-year-old, averaging 24 disposals in his first full senior year of WAFL.

A big-bodied midfielder who was pick 47 in the Rookie Draft, Ballard had a slow start to the season due to injury but still managed 19 games, only dropping below 20 possessions on three occasions.

His strength at the contest was evident with 64 tackles for the season, the most at the Thunder, while Fremantle teammate Matt Taberner booted 18 goals to be the side’s leading goal kicker.

Classy utility Eddie Dann’s impressive second half of the year saw him take out the Coach’s Award, and his versatility made him a valuable commodity for the Thunder.

Fremantle youngster Sam Menegola was recognised as the league side’s most consistent player and he showed his adaptability by tagging in the midfield, as well as curbing some of the league’s best forwards.

Elite tall prospect Dylan Winton capped off a busy year by being named the Arthur Marshall Young Player of the Year.

A WA representative at the Under 18s National Championships, Winton showed great promise as a roaming half-back, and was trusted with a number of key jobs when in the league side.

Winton and teammate Brad Walsh will also be testing at the State Draft Combine later this year

Diminutive forward Matt Brown was named the Players’ Player, while Fremantle star and local favourite Anthony Morabito was recognised as an inspiration to the club by winning the Tom Stone Medal for overcoming adversity.

Morabito came back from three knee reconstructions to force his way into a powerful Fremantle side in Darwin earlier this year, and his outstanding performances for the Thunder provided plenty of inspiration to the club.

Corey Morris won his second consecutive Ball Medal as Reserves best and fairest, with Kyle Westwood runner-up and Toby Gianatti receving the Coach’s Award.

Morris had another consistent season averaging 20 possessions, and was rewarded with two League appearances late in the year.

Despite a tough year for the Peel Colts, Luke Shepherd was a stand-out in defence, winning the BHP Billiton Medal from Sam Shackles and Kyle Shanahan as best and fairest.

The medium defender averaged 14 disposals, and his strong season was recognised earlier this week when he was named in the back pocket of the WAFL 200 Club Colts Team of the Year.

Tall prospect Travis Naughton received the Colts Encouragement Award.

Rod Hazel’s contribution to the Peel Thunder Football Club and as WAFL Combined Past Players and Officials Association president was recognised when he was named the best club person.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 2:00 PM

The Peel Thunder Football Club is pleased to announce that Beau Wardman has been appointed as Colts Coach for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Beau has a strong background in development football, having been an assistant coach with the Perth Football Club colts in 2014, as well as having coached Wesley College in the PSA competition. Beau has been involved in the AIS/AFL high performance program as an umpire and is committed to developing a high performance environment within the colts group.

Beau possesses a strong understanding of the current playing list and is looking forward to working with the group of players involved in colts football next season.

On behalf of all at Peel Thunder we welcome Beau to the club and wish him every success in the role.