The reigning premiers Peel started their 2017 campaign with a bang, running away with a convincing victory against East Perth at Leederville Oval on Saturday night.
There were 13 Fremantle players in the team that defeated the Royals, who boasted a strong line-up of West Coast players.
Fremantle’s Hayden Crozier was among Peel’s best, finishing with 26 possessions and a goal in a match that saw both sides struggle at times to hit the scoreboard.
Fellow Freo Docker Harley Balic also shone for the Thunder, racking up 30 possessions.
The match started slowly and the teams managed just one goal apiece in a tight first quarter.
But the visitors really got going in the third term, kicking five unanswered goals to extend the margin to 31 points at the final change.
Fremantle’s Brady Grey said the players had put in a strong pre-season and were helped by the inclusion of a few players with AFL experience.
“The guys really got up tonight, they had a really good pre-season and had some good wins in the pre-season comp,” he said.
“… Having Hayden back with that AFL experience and all the guys that have come back really contributed to the win.”
Grey gathered 17 possessions in his first game back from an ankle injury, which saw him sidelined for most of the 2016 season.
He was also full of praise for Balic.
“Harley missed majority of last season so it was great to have him out on the field today and really stepping up,” Grey said.
Matt Taberner, Tom Sheridan, and Luke Strnadica also stood out for Peel, which now faces East Fremantle on Saturday.