Peel put a full stop on season 2021 with a gallant fightback against minor premiers Subiaco, to fall short by just four points at David Grays Arena on Saturday.
Down by 51-points at half-time, Peel stormed back into contention in the second half, in what was the final game for outgoing Peel senior coach Cam Shepherd and captain Ben Howlett.
Fremantle’s Mitch Crowden (17 disposals, nine tackles, seven marks), Nathan O’Driscoll (17 disposals, seven tackles and a goal) and Joel Western (17 disposals, six tackles and a goal) were strong contributors in their final game for the year.
Freo ruck Lloyd Meek recorded 43 hit outs to go along with his 11 disposals and five marks, beating the Subiaco ruck pair of Lachlan Delahunty (23 hit outs) and Lewis Putt (eight hit outs) to give the Peel midfield first use.
Despite the narrow loss, Meek said the team was proud of a strong second half showing to send off Shepherd and Howlett.
“Shep has been an absolute legend of the Club and has helped steer the Club to some real success,” Meek said.
“Both Cam and our captain Ben Howlett are absolute legends and ‘Shep’ has done a lot for me personally and a lot for this Club.
“I owe him so much and it would’ve been nice if we could’ve got it done at the end for him, but I know he’d be proud.”
Meek said it was a poor first-half display that had Peel chasing its tail against an experienced Subiaco midfield.
“We obviously know they are very well drilled and experienced team,” Meek said.
“They have a lot of mature bodies and are probably one of the hardest working teams in the league.
“We had a bit of a slump in the first half and managed to bring it back purely on effort and heart.”
Meek said consistency was the key to Peel’s improvement as they look to return to finals football in 2022.
“We’ve had a lot of close games that were very winnable we just need to show our consistency,” Meek said.
“With the alignment (between Fremantle and Peel) you are constantly changing guys in and out of the team.
“Hopefully, the season can run a bit smoother next year with less Covid-19 interruptions and I think we will just keep bonding as a group.”