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Elite athletes set to have a ball on campus

January 15, 2021

Harrison Ireland, Paige Groves and Ava Black will run out for the Bond University Bull Sharks this year. Picture: Cavan Flynn

They hail from opposite ends of the country and play different sports but this trio all share a common goal of winning premierships with the Bond University Bull Sharks.

Netball star Ava Black (Toowoomba), AFL ruck Harrison Ireland (Tasmania) and rugby star Paige Groves (Ravenshoe) met for the first time during Orientation at the university this week.

The three scholarship students arrived on campus ready to pursue their academic goals while chasing their athletic dreams.

“I’m so excited to be here,” said Ireland, who is studying a Bachelor of Sport Management on a Riewoldt Family AFL Excellence Scholarship.

“I started training as soon as I flew in just a few days ago, I’ve been training pretty hard back with my mates in Tassie over the Christmas break.

“I’m so excited to get into all the opportunities that Bond gives to you both on and off the field.”

Black is no stranger to Bond University as she has been making the four-hour return trip from Toowoomba for the last two years to play with the Bull Sharks netball team.

Now the reigning Sapphire Series MVP will live on campus and study a Bachelor of Sport Management on a Sports Leadership Scholarship.

“I’m really excited to be here and start the degree,” Black said.

“The university is amazing. It is a beautiful campus and it is great meeting all the students.

“I’ve been driving down twice a week to get in the high performance centre to do training sessions over the break.

“I’m living with some other athletes, so it is great to be with like-minded people, and I’m really excited to get into my study and have a big year with the Bull Sharks.”

Diminutive Groves is grappling with culture shock after making the trip from Ravenshoe, southwest of Cairns.

She said the campus was big compared to her home town which has a population of 2000 people.

“It’s so cool to be here on a scholarship,” said Groves, who secured a Sport Leadership Scholarship.

“I’m hoping to play really well and see if I can get further in the AON Sevens and see where rugby takes me.

“I enjoy the physical side of the game, it’s one of my best attributes. It’s all about having the right technique.”