A select group of Fremantle players are vying to gain valuable experience when Peel Thunder’s WAFL finals campaign begins this Saturday in a qualifying final against Subiaco at Leederville Oval.
The Thunder can select up to 12 AFL-listed players in a finals game, with 13 Fremantle players made available for selection.
To be automatically eligible, players must have played six WAFL league games in 2023 including two in the past eight rounds, however clubs can also request special permission in specific circumstances.
FREMANTLE PLAYERS AVAILABLE
Both Williams (five league games) and Knobel (two league games) were granted special permission to be available for WAFL finals. The pair played most of the season in the reserves, with Williams playing 11 games and Knobel 13.
Winger Ethan Stanley will sit out the finals series due to having a hot spot in his back.
Senior Coach Geoff Valentine spoke about the how both Peel and Fremantle were aligned in their desire to see premiership success return to the Thunder.
“We're in it to win it, absolutely,” Valentine said.
“From my point of view, Fremantle want a culture of development in a winning environment.
“We play to win and that's been the same every game and that's what we'll be looking to do.”
Valentine said winning a premiership at WAFL level can be a springboard for future success in the AFL – highlighting the Fremantle players who were in action when the Thunder went back-to-back in 2016 and 2017.
“We've had such great success with the likes of Luke Ryan, Brennan Cox, Sean Darcy, Ethan Hughes - these fellas that played in those WAFL final series before they established themselves in the AFL,” Valentine said.
“You can even look at David Mundy, a lot of people forget that he's actually a Subiaco premiership player before he became an AFL star.
“This is what we're hoping for, you look at Emmett, Warner, Wagner, Davies, all these fellas – it can really set them up.”
The qualifying final against Subiaco is a double chance for both teams. The winner will advance to take on minor premiers East Fremantle on Saturday 9 September at Fremantle Oval for a spot in the grand final.
The loser will take on the winner of the elimination final against East Perth and Claremont.