Peel Thunder is set to appear in its second straight WAFL grand final after snapping Subiaco’s 19-game win streak to punch their ticket to the big dance on Saturday.
Just one win away from back-to-back flags, coach Cam Shepherd said his group was excited to be a part of the WAFL’s end game once again.
“We’re really happy with the result – to be a part of the grand final is obviously something special to our club,” he said.
“For the playing group to string together two very strong wins to start finals has been great.”
It was a prolific second quarter that saw Peel Thunder break away from the Lions, before Subiaco recovered with five goals in the third term.
The Lions needed to bridge three goals on the Thunder in the final period to keep their historic run of wins alive, but Peel – aided by 15 Fremantle-listed players – were able to respond first and take home a 10.8 (68) to 14.8 (92) win.
Shepherd heaped praise on his side for bringing finals-type pressure to what was always going to be an intense battle with a perennial powerhouse.
“I was really pleased the way our players tackled, especially in the first half,” he said.
“We had something like 55 tackles in the first two quarters and that’s what you look for when you go into games like this.”
While much has been made about Peel’s ability to play 15 Fremantle-listed players throughout the finals, their local players were among the standouts against the Lions.
Brayden Lawler made his impact known, collecting 18 disposals and a goal while laying a game-high 10 tackles.
The South West product is one of four locals who now have their sights set on becoming dual premiership players with the Thunder, joining Blair Bell, Rory O’Brien and Gerald Ugle.
Ben Hancock, Traye Bennell and Leroy Jetta will all be chasing their first flag with the side.
Shepherd said the team would enjoy the lead-up to the grand final and their week off, following a grueling schedule over the past month.
“I think we’ll enjoy each other’s company and enjoy the atmosphere as it all leads up to the grand final,” he said.
“We will be focused on the training track, but all in all we’ll let the players enjoy it before the big game.”