A late goal from Fremantle’s Sam Sturt has given Peel Thunder a thrilling three-point victory over Perth at David Grays Arena.
Peel jumped out of the blocks early and managed to hold on to dent the Demons’ finals chances, winning 12.12 (84) to 12.9 (81).
Defender Tobe Watson said it was a great feeling in the rooms after such a close contest.
“We knew coming in to today Perth had a finals spot on the line… to the boys’ credit we got together and it was a great win,” he said.
Peel kicked three of the first four goals of the game to get out to a 17-point lead at quarter time.
At the first break Thunder coach Cameron Shepherd praised his side for their effort and tackle pressure, stressing the importance of pushing on against a side with everything to play for.
The Demons hit back in the second term, kicking four goals to two to reduce the margin to a solitary point at half-time.
An injury to Lachie Schultz meant Peel had to play the rest of the game with one less player on the bench.
Watson said it was good to see the side stand up in his absence.
“We only had six Fremantle listed players today, and down to five without Lachie, it just shows how strong we are as a group that we could get the win,” he said.
The second half started with Perth threatening to break the game open, kicking the first two goals.
Peel managed to steady and head into three-quarter-time just two points behind.
At the final change Thunder coach Cameron Shepherd said he couldn’t be prouder of his team’s effort and implored them to keep going for the last 30 minutes of the season.
It was a nervy start to the final term for both sides, with neither team managing to break away.
Perth held a slender three-point lead with minutes remaining when Sam Sturt marked 45 metres out on a difficult angle.
Sturt split the middle and kicked what ended up being the decisive goal.
Watson said the fans deserved a win for the dedication they have put in all year.
“We’ve lost four of those really close games this year, so to finally get on the other side of one is really good,” he said.
Brett Bewley’s ball use stood out all day, with the midfielder collecting 32 disposals to go with a goal.
Watson was solid down back and Sturt kicked three goals as well as the winner.
Peel finish the 2019 season seventh on the WAFL ladder with seven wins and 11 losses.