Written by Sandra Argese.
Dominant first and final quarter performances from Peel Thunder has seen the club take home Rogers Cup premiership honours in 2019.
Shani Garrod opened proceedings by soccering the ball off the side of her boot to notch up the first major of the game. Peel’s momentum continued, with Savannah Ahearn’s strong chest mark and goal earning the Thunder a handy two goal lead at the first break.
South Fremantle dominated play in their forward half of the ground and found themselves inside 50 on three more occassions than their opponents in the opening term, but Peel made better use of their opportunities up forward.
Flipping the equation, Peel found themselves inside 50 six more times and in complete control of the game, but it was their inaccuracy which let them down in front of goal - going goalless in the second term. Standing tall in a marking contest, South Fremantle’s Jorja Payne’s clean hands and slick drop punt gave the Buldogs a much-needed first goal before the main break.
With only 10 points in it, it was still anyone’s game.
The Bulldogs would kick three of the next four goals – with two of them arriving in the first five minutes of the third term.
Peel looked to have fallen apart, until Shani Garrod found herself all alone with the footy inside 50 to provide Peel with a much needed response on the scoreboard. Going against the momentum, there was less than a kick in it.
Evolving into a classic shootout, consecutive single goals to Peel and South followed – with Peel’s a timely prospect, arriving after the three-quarter time siren had sounded.
Garrod – who was the league’s leading goalkicker for the season – kicked Peel’s first and last goals for the game, finishing with three in total.
South had no answers for the hungry Thunder, who banged on two final quarter goals (one from Garrod and the other, Charlize Thompson) to etch themselves into history.
With a minute to go, the crowd began the countdown to the siren – and despite Taite Lantzke’s late goal for South Fremantle – the damage had been done, and the winner was clear.
Showcasing incredible foot skills and pressure around each contest, Tara Garlett was awarded best on ground honours. The premiership cup was awarded to Peel Thunder Captain Kaitlyn Hayes and Coach Steve Markham, who perfectly summed up proceedings in a few short words.
“The two best sides of the last two years went head to head,” Markham said.
“This is the reward for the first female side to win [the premiership] for Peel Thunder, and I couldn’t be prouder.”
QUARTER BY QUARTER
PEEL THUNDER: 2.1 (13) 2.5 (17) 4.6 (30) 6.8 (44)
SOUTH FREMANTLE: 0.1 (1) 1.1 (7) 4.1 (25) 5.1 (31)