- Bennell return a step in the right direction: Ross Lyon
- Harley Bennell returns for Peel Thunder clash against East Perth | photos
Peel Thunder extended their win-streak to five straight games when they took down the East Perth Royals at Leederville Oval on Saturday.
Wet conditions failed to rain on the Thunder’s parade, as they welcomed back Fremantle-listed midfielder Harley Bennell from a 16-month absence with a 7.9 (51) to 12.7 (79) victory.
Peel broke the game open in the third quarter after a first-half tussle, with five goals to East Perth’s one giving them what would prove to be an unassailable lead at three quarter time.
Coach Cam Shepherd praised the intent of his players, labelling their attack on the footy as first class.
“I thought we brought some real intent in the game and we fought a hard fight in very wet conditions,” he said.
“Our second quarter was good and our third quarter was very good. I was pretty happy with the way we attacked across all lines.
“Every game in the league is difficult and you can’t afford to have passengers, so I was really pleased with the way each of our guys contributed.”
Fremantle-listed forward Matt Taberner starred in front of goal for the second consecutive week as he continues to press his claim for an AFL berth.
The 24-year-old Docker booted five straight goals while amassing a whopping 27 possessions, 10 marks and four tackles.
His prolific performance follows on from a six-goal haul last week.
Fellow Docker Cam Sutcliffe also continued his blistering form with 31 disposals and a goal, while Rory O’Brien (33 touches) was influential.
Restricted to just 60 minutes of game time, Bennell recorded 12 disposals and a goal in his return from recurring calf injuries.
Shepherd said it was simply nice to see Bennell get through the contest unscathed.
“I was just really happy he got through it healthy and it’s just good to see him back on the footy field,” he said.
“He managed to kick a goal which was a nice moment for him.”
The Thunder will take on Subiaco next week as the teams fight out another chapter in their epic modern rivalry.
The Lions handed Peel their most recent loss in a four-point thriller seven weeks ago.
Peel premiership player Blair Bell, who was suspended five games for breaking the jaw of Subiaco’s Aaron Heal in the clash, will be available for selection this week.