Written by Sandra Argese, 30 July 2019
East Fremantle have breathed a sigh of relief after fighting off a last-minute scare from Peel Thunder in a blockbuster finale to finish two point winners.
As far as thrillers go, this was among the best of the season.
Kira Phillips’ number 35 guernsey was everywhere to be seen. Finishing with three goals, Phillips' strong leads and ability to find space amongst traffic helped Peel stay in touch with the Sharks all afternoon. The calibre of her marking strength and poise around the ground was certainly telling.
Unlike recent weeks, the picture-perfect Sunday afternoon clash at New Choice Homes Park went uninterrupted by the elements.
From the opening bounce, East Fremantle dominated early in the piece. Play was majorly locked in to their attacking half of the ground, as the home side enjoyed multiple shots on goal and several more inside 50 entries than their opponents. Resulting in a handy seven-point buffer at quarter time, Peel had some work to do.
And work they did, when the margin was immediately sliced back to two points when Phillips made kicking the opening goal of the second term look like a piece of cake.
But Ashleigh Gomes wasn’t have a bar of it, giving East Fremantle much-needed breathing space before the main break with a handy goal to win back the seven point lead.
After half time, Phillips again stared by kicking the only goal of the third term. With East Fremantle only managing a behind, an imminent draw was on the cards, with scores tied up at 3.3 (21) a piece.
The umpires were certainly kept busy. Such was the ferocity of the final term that player infringements across the ground lead to multiple 50m penalties. Rushed kicks across the board favoured neither side, while finding space amidst heavy traffic made it a tricky day for the midfielders on both sides.
True to her surname, Cobie Wise’s quick-thinking and speed saw her run into an open goal to kick the sealer and ultimately win the Sharks the game with about six minutes to go – but Peel weren’t done yet.
Sending the crowd into a frenzy, proceedings heated up a notch when Peel kicked a goal to go to bring the margin back to two. 27 played 29 and three minutes still remained.
While stoppages were becoming increasingly constant , the blockbuster ending would unfold inside Peel’s attacking 50.
Winning a 50m penalty, Peel took the ball right on the line of their attacking 50. The Thunder launched deep into their pocket, with the majority of its players flooding the zone to push for the winning goal. At the other end of the spectrum, the Sharks defensive unit certainly earnt their stripes. Working hard all afternoon, their spoils and marks from the opposition forced many telling turnovers. Holding Peel up, the siren eventually sounded with ball in play only metres from the Thunder's goal. Game over.
Despite not walking away with the win, Peel remain two games clear ahead of the Perth Angels in fourth spot and keep their finals ambitions alive. Meanwhile, the Sharks sit well ahead of cross-town rivals South Fremantle in second spot on percentage.
QUARTER BY QUARTER
EAST FREMANTLE: 2.2 (14) 3.2 (20) 3.3 (21) 4.5 (29)
PEEL THUNDER: 1.1 (7) 2.1 (13) 3.3 (21) 4.3 (27)
EAST FREMANTLE: Katelyn Catalano (2), Ashleigh Gomes, Cobie Wise.
PEEL THUNDER: Kira Phillips (3), Casara Hill.