Peel Thunder will have their first bye week of the year this weekend, and it has come at a much-needed time for the league side.
After a promising start to the 2017 season with a pair of wins over East Perth and East Fremantle, Peel has slumped to fifth on the ladder on the back of three straight losses.
South Fremantle and Subiaco both loom as premiership contenders and while Peel would make no excuses for their losses in rounds three and four, there were positive signs to take away from each game.
But the Thunder’s round five clash against the Falcons was a dismal display.
West Perth were coming off a 103-point shellacking from the Bulldogs, while Peel was entering the game after a spirited showing saw them almost claim an upset win against Subiaco.
The game loomed as perhaps not a blowout, but a comfortable win for the Thunder.
But what transpired left a sour taste in the mouths of Thunder fans.
It wasn’t a horrifying loss by any means, but aside from their short spell in the third, the Thunder never really looked like challenging, despite having 11 Fremantle-listed players in their squad.
Fortunately for the Thunder, they now have an extra week to regroup with a bye.
But where do they begin?
Peel are yet to win a game since Ross Lyon swung the axe at Fremantle, cherry-picking most of his youthful talent from Peel’s branches and placing them in his Dockers basket.
His six changes saw names like Harley Balic, Griffin Logue, Ethan Hughes, Hayden Crozier and Brady Grey taken out of the Peel conversation.
At the time, Balic led the WAFL in disposals.
Those names were replaced with AFL veterans like Zac Dawson, Nick Suban and Cam Sutcliffe, and while the trio is producing in their own ways for Peel, the side has been less impressive.
However, a week is a long time in football, and two weeks even more so.
West Perth would need to convincingly take down the unbeaten Swan Districts to remove Peel from the top five, so the Thunder look safe for at least another week.
If they can recapture their form from the opening fortnight, they could again cement themselves as genuine contenders.