Thunder storm at Leederville Oval sends Peel into semi-final against East Fremantle.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023 - 12:44 PM by Lachlan Byrne and Fred Knickel

Peel Thunder faced Subiaco in their Qualifying final in harsh weather conditions at Leederville Oval, emerging victorious by 10 points.

Subiaco jumped out of the gates in a slippery and contested game kicking the opening two goals to the scoreboard end.

Josh Corbett made his presence felt from outside 50, kicking Peel’s first goal midway through the term.

Brady Grey and Riley Smith put in repeat efforts across half forward, leading to Corbett’s second, giving Peel the lead.

Tom Emmett was lively in the opening term after returning for Peel after a breakout fortnight to round out the AFL season.

It was a game of territory in the wet with the ball skimming like a rock on a pond, hard running and strong tackling saw Peel take a three-point lead into quarter time.

The sun broke through the clouds to start the second term as Subiaco controlled the footy early again but struggled to capitalise on the scoreboard.

Hugh Davies was a brick wall in defence putting in numerous desperate efforts to spoil and cover teammates’ opponents, combining well with Joel Hamling in his return.

Peel struggled however to work the ball out of the backline, falling into a 19-point deficit as the rain returned.

The damn wall broke as the pressure of repeat inside 50s for Subiaco turned their efficiency around to kick their fourth goal on the trot.

In a tough second quarter, Peel managed to register just a solitary behind in the 30th minute of the term to go into the main break 28 points down.

Brodie led the way for Peel with 15 disposals at half time with Davies standing strong in defence with 5 tackles.

Peel willed themselves back into the contest through tackle pressure and a huge contested mark by Jack Sears, resulting in the opening goal of the second half.

Hamling again formed the last line of defence, getting a desperate fingertip on a Subiaco snap attempt at goal.

Brodie and Karl Worner turned up the heat around the contest, providing poise and experienced heads to launch the Thunder forward.

Travis Colyer set the crowd alight with a silky pickup running down the wing before kicking a goal from right in front of the teal army.

Peel rode the wave of momentum to give themselves multiple looks at goal in an exciting patch of premiership quarter footy.

Blair Bell continued his dominant day with an awe-inspiring goal from inside the centre square before Grey sold the Subiaco defence some candy to cut the margin to three.

Sears sent everyone at Leederville Oval into disbelief with a mesmerising snap for his second goal, putting Peel back in front.

A late Ben Middleton goal topped off an impressive quarter, giving Peel the upper hand heading into the final term with a 10-point lead.

Middleton bookended the three-quarter-time break perfectly with a contested mark and goal for a dream start to the last quarter for the Thunder.

Subiaco hit back to keep themselves in it, before Sears kicked his third goal in reply as a chorus of passionate supporters broke into a rendition of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck.

The tension in the middle stages of the term could be cut with a knife as Subiaco used the wind to continually send the ball inside 50, bringing their forwards into the game.

Michael Sellwood was dynamic through the midfield to keep his day rolling, working well with Bell around contests to push the ball forward.

ACCELERATOR. BRAKE. SEARS. Peel gave themselves a glimpse of the finish line through a clutch running goal.

Middleton kicked a hail mary over the top to set Emmett a task running through the 50m arc, with Subiaco defenders for company he shrugged off a tackle to seal the game for Peel.

After the game, Tom Emmett reflected on the win.

“Obviously a huge win, now on to East Freo down at South Freo.

“Our focus in the first few quarters, we knew it was gonna be wet so we knew we had to kick the ball more and not be so pretty with it.

“We didn’t do that, that’s why we got behind and then the message at halftime was just to get the ball on the boot.

“We knew it was gonna be a contested game so it’s all about territory and just trying to get the ball on the boot.”

He also reflected on the chemistry within the team.

“Obviously we don’t get to see the boys as much during the week… but game day they’re just amazing and the culture we’ve built down there is just unmatched.

“It was amazing to come back to these boys, like we love them so much. There’s just such a good bond.”

“I went away for two weeks and came back, yeah they just really bring me back and get around me, it’s great.”

Ben Middleton spoke about the team’s focus coming into today.

“Big focus on the contest in and around the ground, just really didn’t get it right in the first half but credit to the boys.

“We said in the changerooms that we are more likely to win when we are down at half time but hopefully next time we aren’t down by that much.

He spoke about the approach taken in the second half.

“The message was the same as always, to just keep fighting and the fight we have in the group at the moment is just unbelievable.

“We had full confidence coming out after halftime that we were going to get the job done.

Middleton reflected on the 41-point third quarter.

“It just goes back to the fight of the group, we don’t give up, we battle it out.

“Big focus on repeat stoppages in the last quarter and we ended up scoring pretty well which was just on the back of how good our contest work was.”

Ben spoke on some individual performances of teammates

“(Jack Sears) can play anywhere, he’s just one of those guys that just no matter what outs we have that week he can play back, he can play on a wing, he can play forward like he did today and he’s just super to have."

“We rested (Blair Bell) the last few rounds of the home and away season, he said he’s a little bit nervous with his body going in, but he doesn’t play like it obviously.

“He’s just an absolute bull, he’s great to play with."

He reflected on the game and what it meant for next week’s Semi-final.

“Just no matter what the scoreboard looks like we know we can get the job done and win, we’re one and one with East (Fremantle) now and we have full confidence going into that game.”


Subiaco: 3 B. Sokol, 2 M.Walters, J Mayo, 1 Z. Clarke, M. Braut, D.Rohde

Peel: 4 J. Sears, 2 B. Middleton, J. Corbett, 1 T. Colyer, B. Grey, B. Bell, T. Emmett


Score Breakdown:

Peel Thunder:  2.3 2.4 8.9 12.12 (84)

Subiaco:  2.0 6.8 6.11 10.14 (74)


Written by Lachlan Byrne and Fred Knickel