Peel’s finals chances have taken another blow after a disappointing 40-point loss to South Fremantle at South Fremantle Oval on Saturday.
A slow-starting Peel managed just one goal in the opening half against a fiery Bulldogs outfit, going down 6.6 (42) to South Fremantle’s 11.16 (82).
Fremantle forward Sam Sturt said a relatively young and inexperienced Peel side was a factor in the loss.
“It was probably the young side going in, I think we had eight players who were 18 or 19-years old and six that had played less than five games so I thought that we fought out the second half really well,” he said.
South Fremantle took control of the game early, finishing with four majors and keeping Peel goalless in the opening term.
The Thunder managed to boot their first major in the second quarter but couldn’t keep up with the Bulldogs who ran away with a 47-point lead at the main break.
Sturt said the Bulldog’s ability to get their hands on the ball early allowed them to dominate Peel.
“I think they were bigger bodies, first to the ball, they were really physical, I think they were pretty switched on from the start and it just took us a half to get a spray from the coach then we finally switched on,” he said.
After coach Cam Shepherd’s half-time address Peel put on a much more impressive quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs for the first time by creating more opportunities and booting four goals.
Sturt said the team were determined to put up a fight in the second half despite the odds being stacked against them.
“We came in from a message at half-time that we could either lie down and just get pummelled or come out and actually put up a fight and I think we won the second half by seven points which is a positive,” he said.
However, it wasn’t enough to recover from the damage done in the first half, as the Bulldogs wrestled back some control in the final term.
Despite Peel’s finals hope slipping away, Sturt said the team embraced the challenge of fighting for their slim chance to make it back into the top-five.
“I think it’s really important for the club and for the season that we keep fighting, I think we have Swans next week look to bounce back against them with a big first half, strong first quarter and go from there,” he said.
Peel will turn their attention to taking on Swan Districts at Bassendean Oval on Saturday 17 August at 2:15pm.