Lightning may never strike twice in the same place, but Peel Thunder sure does in WAFLW Grand Finals.
Peel Thunder has defeated Swan Districts by 21 points to go back-to-back in the WAFLW Grand Final on Sunday afternoon at David Greys Arena.
After winning last year’s grand final against Subiaco and finishing second on the ladder with a 10-5 record, the Thunder overcame the Swans to secure their second premiership.
Swan Districts sat first on the ladder with 14 wins and one loss to Peel in the dying rounds of the season.
Although they secured a home semi-final against Peel, they were once again overcome by the reigning premiers. Not only did they lose the home-ground advantage, but they were forced into a cut-throat preliminary final against a red-hot Subiaco.
The WAFLW Grand Final was a low-scoring affair, but a nonetheless tight and entertaining contest as both sides brought all the intensity expected for a grand final.
Sabreena Duffy was a relentless force all day and was rewarded player of the match for her efforts. She saw plenty of the ball and was a calm influence when play got frantic.
But the win also came courtesy of their menacing forward line comprising of the league’s leading goalkicker Kate Bartlett, Kira Phillips, and 16-year-old sensation Ella Roberts.
They put scoreboard pressure on early, courtesy of Roberts, who launched the ball inside 50 to a waiting Kate Bartlett to kick her first of the day. This was one of many passages of play that showed the 2022 draft prospect’s maturity and toughness, often putting herself or her teammates in a position to capitalize.
Not long after, Phillips popped up to kick Peel’s second to give them an 11-point lead at quarter time, despite the ball spending a large proportion of the quarter down the Swans’ end.
Off the break, Swan Districts were awarded a 50m penalty, which Bianca Webb took advantage of to slot the first major of the day.
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Beyond that, the ball was locked in Peel’s forward half where it remained for the rest of the quarter despite the Swans’ best efforts to send it the other way.
The Swans were down by nine points at the main break and were searching for a way back in the game, but the Thunders’ defence led by skipper Cassie Davidson managed to hold them down.
Much of the play remained down Peel’s end, which enabled Bartlett to kick her second for the day and extend the lead to 14 points.
But a clever second effort from Mikayla Hyde down the other end gave the Swans hope, as her goal cut the lead down to eight points in the dying minutes of the third quarter.
It was Phillips who delivered the final blows, kicking two goals to secure the flag for the second year in a row.
Swans captain Emily McGuire led from the front, taking crucial marks, and was persistent in attack and defence. Other Swans who stood out were Mikayla and Brianna Hyde who attacked the ball with courage and speed, Tara Stribley, who was persistent all day, and Jaime Henry who led the backline as best as she could.
Rogers Cup: West Perth (10.6.66) def. South Fremantle (1.3.9)
Best on Ground: Tahli Wilkins (West Perth)
West Perth: Elissa Price 3, Mahli Turland, Tazara Kelly 2, Caitlin Thomas, Chanel Scott, Jeevna Heer
South Fremantle: Indi Strom
Reserves: East Fremantle (5.4.34) def by. Peel Thunder (6.4.40)
Best on Ground: Ariana Hetherington (Peel)
East Fremantle: Karen Salkilld, Gabby Radojkovich, Lauren O’Connor, Jessie Mcdonald, Sheridan Currie
Peel Thunder: Ava Muir 3, Bailey Molloy 2, Demi Okely
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