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Peel into second straight WAFL GF

Travis King,  September 11, 2017 10:55 AM

taberner web 119.jpg

Matt Taberner kicked four goals in Peel's semi final win on Saturday (Photo:

Fremantle forward Matt Taberner has led Peel Thunder to back-to-back WAFL Grand Final appearances. 

The athletic tall dominated early against Subiaco at Leederville Oval on Sunday, and finished with four goals and 16 marks in the Thunder's hard-earned 24-point triumph in the second semi-final.

Rebounding defender Luke Ryan, full-back Sam Collins and veteran Danyle Pearce were also outstanding as Peel, fielding 15 Freo Dockers, snapped the Lions' 19-game winning streak. 

The Thunder will now have the chance to defend last year's maiden WAFL premiership in the last Australian football match at Domain Stadium on September 24.

Taberner has lifted his output considerably in the second half of the season, forcing his way back into Freo's line-up for the final three rounds after a dominant month at WAFL level.

The 24-year-old grabbed seven marks and slotted two goals in a commanding opening quarter to help set up Peel's win on Sunday.

His only blemish was a hospital kick which hung in the air and set up Josh Deluca, who was crunched from behind. 

Ryan's intercepting across half-back was another highlight in a strong return from groin soreness.

He ended with 16 marks and 25 disposals, while Collins (10 marks) was rock-solid again and Pearce racked up 30 touches.

Ryan Nyhuis did his best to keep a tight leash on Lions star Liam Ryan, but the WAFL's leading goalkicker made the most of his limited opportunities.

The mercurial Ryan booted 3.1 from just seven touches, underlining his goalkicking threat for any AFL recruiters in attendance. 

Peel's height worried Subiaco and veteran ruckman Jonathon Griffin (40 hit-outs) and young gun Sean Darcy (24) gave their midfielders first use throughout the contest. 

Darcy booted a booming 55m set shot and added another goal into time-on in the final term to thwart Subiaco's gallant fightback.