Peel Thunder held off a late comeback from Swan Districts to post their fourth win of the season with a 21-point victory on Saturday afternoon.
Four goals from Fremantle-listed ruckman Sean Darcy was the difference in the game, as the Thunder fought off a spirited last-minute push from Swans.
Peel led by a sizable 39 points at the three-quarter-time interval but a barrage of goals in the opening ten minutes of the fourth saw Swans cut the margin to just 14 midway through the term.
Peel was able to respond through the boot of Darcy as the Thunder remained composed to grind out a win and even their season ledger at four wins, four losses.
A stagnant opening to the game saw both sides missing their chances, but Swans took a narrow lead when two of their first three goals came off undisciplined 50m penalties against Zac Dawson and Brennan Cox.
But Darcy was electrifying in the first half, booting three of his four goals early in the game as Peel used a blistering second quarter to turn the tide in their favour.
Matt Riggio worked hard for Swan Districts but was unable to quell the influence of Tom Sheridan (34 disposals) and Rory O’Brien (26 disposals, one goal) as Peel went into the main break up 15 points.
They controlled the third quarter with Luke Ryan playing a pivotal role across half back.
The new Fremantle draftee intercepted most kicks that came his way and was able to set up teammates like Blair Bell, who showed his strength for the majority of the game across the half forward line.
Swans gave chase in the final quarter but it was a matter of too little, too late as Peel finished the game 12.12 (84) to 9.9 (63) winners.
The talking points
1. Peel’s ruck dominance
Both Sean Darcy and Jon Griffin were outstanding controlling the ruck contest for the Thunder throughout the day. They were able to give first use of the ball to their midfielders with 31 and 29 hit-outs respectively and were also clear winners around the ground finishing with five and six marks apiece.
2. Pressure game returns for Thunder
Peel won the tackle count over Swans 70-51 and applied some of their trademark pressure for the majority of the game. Blair Bell laid just two tackles but he was able to showcase his strength and ferocity at the contest on a number of occasions, while Michael Humble, Traye Bennell, Brayden Lawler, Tom Sheridan, Corey Morris and Taylin Duman all led the way with six tackles each.
3. Luke Ryan makes an intercept
Fremantle drafted Luke Ryan for his impeccable intercept play off the half back and they got to see plenty of it in action for the Thunder today. Ryan finished with 24 touches and 13 marks on the day, and was a key instigator for much of Peel’s possessions. Play like that is likely to earn him an AFL debut at some point this season.