Royals ruined by Thunder

Tiff Warne, Staff writer

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Despite their strong start, the East Perth Royals crumbled in Saturday’s WAFL match against Peel Thunder, with a 36-point margin placing Peel fourth on the ladder.

Whether it was last week’s events causing the Royals’ fatigue following their bye, or the Thunder’s motivation after losing to Claremont, there was no denying Peel was the superior team at Medibank Stadium.

West Coast player Tom Lamb kicked off the opening quarter with the first goal and behind of the match, but the momentum didn’t last as Peel took out the game 13.11 (89) to 7.11 (53).

With a clumsy start for Peel as they missed inside fifty opportunities, they tightened their defence with Fremantle’s Anthony Morabito.

Johnathan Giles secured the next goal for the Royals, but the team’s effort didn’t last heading into the second quarter.

Despite both teams having 36 hit outs, Peel’s mighty midfield overpowered East Perth’s, as Docker Matthew de Boer racked up 39 possessions for his team.

East Perth’s latest addition Samuel Powell-Pepper didn’t disappoint in his League debut, as his second quarter goal prompted a celebration from his new teammates.

With only a two-goal difference separating the teams at half time, punters couldn’t predict who was going to use the pressure to their advantage.

East Perth’s coach Jaymie Graham suggested they tried to change their tactics a little too much going into the second half.

“[Peel] did take the game on more, and it looked like we were trying to play the ball in our half. We saw some positive results, but it was a little bit too late,” he said.

However, it was all over by the third quarter, when the Royals’ botched attempts at the goals only got them two behinds.

Meanwhile, the Thunder’s dynamic performance scored them six behinds and seven goals in the second half, going in with a strong attack.

Fremantle midfielder Tendai Mzungu was kept busy with over 30 possessions, 23 kicks and 12 handballs, leading the team to victory.

Fellow Dockers Matthew Taberner, Jack Hannath and Jonathon Griffin pulled Peel ahead as they bagged two goals each, as did forward Traye Bennell.

For the Royals, Paul Johnson and Mitchell Brown did their best to maintain their team’s stellar start, but they couldn’t match Peel’s energy.

East Perth’s co-captain Craig Wulff said his team didn’t have a great “work rate”, and it was disappointing the way the team controlled the ball but didn’t capitalize on it.

“We had control of the footy, we just didn’t make use of it on the score board,” Wulff said.

Despite winning their last five games, Graham didn’t blame last week’s bye for the team’s loss of traction.

“The way we started showed we prepared well and had a good first quarter, but Peel got on the front foot after quarter time and we couldn’t really get that momentum back,” he said.

East Perth will need to be prepared when they take on the top of the ladder, the Subiaco Lions, next weekend at Medibank Stadium.

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Royals ruined by Thunder