Two teams vying for the last spot in the top-five in the final game of the home-and-away season.
Peel Thunder coach Geoff Valentine ahead of an ‘elimination final’ against Swan Districts at Lane Group Stadium on Sunday.
Both the Thunder and Black Ducks won on Saturday, beating West Coast and West Perth respectively as their finals fight heats up.
Peel are ahead of Swan Districts on percentage in fifth spot, with both teams locked on 10-7.
“It’s exciting and bloody good for the competition,” Valentine said.
“In some ways it would’ve been nice if West Perth were to get it done but good luck to Swannies and it will be good fun next week.
“It’s going to be a wonderful way to finish the home-and-away season for the competition, having two teams on equal points.
“Swannies have got a wonderful fanbase and hopefully we’re riding the Fremantle wave from Saturday night, it will be great to see Lane Group Stadium packed out.”
Valentine was most pleased with the maturity shown in the ruthless 73-point win – 16.9 (105) to 3.14 (32) – setup by a nine-goals-to-none opening half.
It was expected to be a much closer contest with Peel’s 15 AFL-listed players nearly matched by the Eagles’ 14.
“It was a really strong performance,” Valentine said.
“To West Coast’s credit they fought it out well but we were able to get some pressure on the scoreboard early and it was a bloody pleasing win.
“To put the game away early like that was a really pleasing sign and a sign of a young group that’s maturing.”
Valentine praised defenders Ethan Hughes and Jack Sears on their reliability down back.
He gave 20-year-old South Mandurah product Sears, who took seven marks and read the play well, his best player award post-game ahead of experienced AFL-listed pair Lloyd Meek and Nathan Wilson.
“Blokes like Ethan Hughes and Jack Sears just the did basics right and that was a real standout for me,” he said.
“They’re a couple of blokes that you could set your watch by, they don’t fumble too often, catch what they should catch and they stick tackles.”
Valentine highlighted the remarkable depth across the Fremantle and Peel sides with AFL rookie Karl Worner, ruckman Riley Smith and young forward Luke Polson squeezed out.
Veteran midfielder Connor Blakely, who was restricted to coaching duties on the sidelines due to illness, is set to return against his former team on Sunday in a massive boost.
West Coast have already claimed the wooden spoon ahead of Perth with one game left, against Claremont at Revo Fitness Stadium next Saturday.
The Eagles are likely to be without WAFL top-up Jalen McGee who sustained a knee injury early in the loss to the Thunder and took no further part in the match, re-emerging from the rooms in the second half with crutches and left knee heavily bandaged.