Thunderstruck on and off the field on Saturday when Peel crushed East Perth by 65 points at Lane Group Stadium.
It was a landmark game to remember for Blair Bell, who celebrated his 100th game with the club, and Fremantle Dockers forward Matt Taberner returned to the football field after a back injury.
It was an armed struggle in the first quarter with a lot of pressure; Freo’s Josh Treacey went down early and was helped off the field by two trainers with a suspected ankle injury.
Goals from Sam Sturt, Liam Henry, and Guy Barnes gave Peel a short-lived lead before East Perth Thomas Medhat tossed one.
A late deficit by Henry left the margin by just one point in the second quarter.
Camera IconWAFL – Peel Thunder vs. East Perth at Lane Group Stadium, Mandurah. Pictured – Peel’s Matt Taberner celebrates a goal Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian.
It was Joel Western and Taberner’s show at the start of the second term, with the duo scoring three goals and trailing them in just seven minutes.
Peel continued to break away as the quarter unfolded, with Barnes scoring his second and third goals and Taberner kicking his double to lead 33 points at halftime.
Despite several skill errors and conversions in the wet conditions, Peel still managed to increase the margin to 57 points in the third quarter, with six goals for the opposite two.
East Perth seemed to brighten the last period, but Peel couldn’t take his foot off the gas with another goal from Taberner, one from Neil Erasmus, and a fairytale finish from Blair Bell.
The scoreboard reflected a season-best performance by Thunder, 11.13 (117) to 7.10 (52) in East Perth.
Taberner proved he is AFL-ready with three goals and 12 disposals, with Barnes and Western scoring four goals each and Henry 17 disposals and two goals.
Man of the hour Blair Bell said it couldn’t have been better.
“It was great to win both classes and come back from a tight loss last week,” he said.
“Humbled by all the support from the club, family, and friends, and happy to reach the milestone after making his debut in 2013.
“Many more young players will reach the milestone, with the quality at the club and the people in and around the club who support them.”
There was also a great result for the Reserves, seven points behind East Perth, but the foals couldn’t quite get a third win, 14 points behind the Royals.
In the top five, Round 10 will see Peel Thunder face the high-flying East Fremantle at the WACA on June 25.