Ben McGuire celebrates a goal during East Fremantle's win over Peel Thunder in the 2023 WAFL Grand Final. Picture: Jack Foley

EAST Fremantle has broken a 25-year flag drought, overpowering Peel Thunder and continuing an 11-game winning run to win the WAFL Grand Final by 39 points at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

The Sharks led from start to finish and put their foot down in the second half, kicking six of the last eight goals to win 12.13 (85) to 6.10 (46) and collect their 30th premiership and first since 1998 after losing deciders in 2000 and 2012.

SHARKS v THUNDER Check out all the stats from the WAFL Grand Final

It was a triumph that came five years after victorious coach Bill Monaghan took the reins of a struggling club that won just two games in a nightmare 2018 season, with the Sharks climbing to a preliminary final last year and taking the next step in 2023.

It was heartbreak for Peel in its first Grand Final since winning back-to-back premierships in 2016-17, with the Fremantle-aligned team containing 11 AFL-listed players but overwhelmed by the Sharks' depth of contributors.   

East Fremantle midfielder Milan Murdock was instrumental in the third quarter and finished with 27 disposals to win the Simpson Medal as best afield, while former Brisbane and West Coast midfielder Tom Joyce was terrific with 30 touches.

Fraser Turner (37 disposals) and Cameron Eardley (25) were other major ball-winners, while ex-Gold Coast midfielder Josh Schoenfeld and Ben McGuire each booted two goals.

The Sharks had to overcome a Thunder team that included Will Brodie, Nathan O'Driscoll, Corey Wagner and Joel Hamling among the 2023-listed Dockers playing.  

They built a 14-point lead at the main break before overpowering the Peel midfield in the third quarter and extending the advantage to 28 points at the final change and kicking away late.    

The win came without important forwards Dillon O'Reilly and Jonathon Marsh, who were each injured and unavailable, leading to the Sharks successfully deploying a smaller forward line. 

Travis Colyer was the Thunder's only multiple goalkicker, with Dockers Corey Wagner (31 disposals) and Will Bodie (25) battling hard in the midfield. 

EAST FREMANTLE            3.5   6.6   9.11   12.13 (85)
PEEL THUNDER                 2.0   4.4   5.7   6.10 (46)

East Fremantle: Schoenfeld 2, McGuire 2, Murdock, Montauban, McGuire, Marsh, Joyce, English, Dixon, Bennett
Peel Thunder: Colyer 2, Wemm, Smith, Sears, Middleton 



Simpson Medal Votes

3 votes - Tom Joyce (East Fremantle)
2 votes - Milan Murdock (East Fremantle)
1 vote -  Fraser Turner (East Fremantle)
Mitch Woodcock (The West Australian)
3 votes - Milan Murdock (East Fremantle)
2 votes - Tom Joyce (East Fremantle)
1 vote - Cam Eardley (East Fremantle)
Michael Broadbridge (7 Network)
3 votes -Milan Murdock (East Fremantle)
2 votes - Tom Joyce (East Fremantle)
1 vote - Fraser Turner (East Fremantle)
8 - Milan Murdock - (East Fremantle)
7 - Tom Joyce (East Fremantle)
2 - Fraser Turner (East Fremantle)
1 - Cam Eardley (East Fremantle)