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Bond University Football Club Bound for Glory

The Bond University AFL Football Club (BUFC) is currently experiencing a dream run, having notched up an impressive nine from nine victories so far this season, making them red-hot favourites to be this year’s Premiers.

From humble beginnings as a ‘social kick-about’ footy team, they have proven a force to be reckoned with in the QAFA (B) South competition.

Not only have they made the finals every year since they entered the local competition ‘for a bit of fun’ in 2010, they’ve also made the Grand Final twice; not a bad effort for a team just five years old.

Although their journey to their current position of unbeaten league leaders has been a relatively short one, it certainly hasn’t been without its challenges.

At the beginning of 2013, BUFC was in dire straits. With no coach, no funds and facing crippling debt, there was every chance the team would be forced to fold.

However, the determination and passion of the players saw them develop an impressive roadmap to put the club on the path to success, that included a clear vision and five year strategic plan, which was whole-heartedly endorsed and supported by the University’s Vice-Chancellor. 

The team’s vision was to become one of the leading AFL universities in Australia and provide a robust pathway for young athletes who want a university education, but also want to play AFL at an elite level.

This vision aligned strongly with the University’s mission to become one of the country’s leading sports universities, and was further enabled by the refurbishment of the existing playing field to AFL standard - the same size as the hallowed turf of Melbourne’s MCG - as part of Bond’s redevelopment of it sporting infrastructure and sports strategy.

A key pillar to BUFC’s strategic plan was to recruit a coach. Fortunately for BUFC, professional footballer Sam Whish-Wilson, a 27 year old Tasmanian who had represented his state, had recently relocated to the Gold Coast to play for Southport and teach PE at Somerset College. 

Sam was so impressed with the team’s vision, character and tenacity, he agreed to come on board as a player coach ahead of the 2014 season.

“The opportunity to coach a university team of talented young players, who clearly get along on and off the field, was too good to miss,” Sam said.

“The reason we’ve been so successful this season comes down to fitness, teamwork, playing smart and training hard.

“The Bond University spirit is alive and well and this spirit continues once we leave the field.

“The team is very social, we get on well and everyone is equal. We have quite a few students from interstate, and it’s great that as newcomers to the club, they pretty much instantly acquire 50 new friends.”

“It’s also fantastic that we have a Vice-Chancellor and executive committee that works really hard for the club and gives both the team and me, as coach, 100 percent support.”

BUFC President and Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) student, Gideon Ptasznik said Sam had bought a new level of professionalism to the team.

“Sam analysed our team, our game and the competition and put into place a weekly team goal and plan,” Gideon said.

“He introduced a tough pre-season training regime and identified a strategy for the team to leverage our key strengths - of being young, fit and fast.

“Sam also identified the team’s cultural identity and character as another strength. Our values of toughness and togetherness are ever-present – at every training session, every match and every social gathering.

“Another factor that makes us unique is that we are completely University run. Our medics, physios and volunteers are all Bondies, and we’re really proud of this, as it ensures we keep our culture a Bond culture.”

Since Sam joined BUFC, the team has gone from strength to strength, with 61 members currently.

Gideon said the fact the team has so many members has provided them with an additional competitive-edge.

“With so many talented players competing for a spot on the team, we all put in 100 percent effort at every game and every training session,” he said.

“Basically you’re playing for your spot every time you take the field, and this means the calibre of football we’re playing is extremely high, and improving week on week.”

Bond University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Brailsford said he was very proud of the achievements of BUFC to date.

“I’m not surprised by the success the club is currently experiencing, given the level of professionalism, dedication and incredible team spirit I’ve witnessed over the past few years,” he said.

“The team has flourished under Sam’s expert tutelage, and I urge the rest of the University to join me in showing their support and encouragement of the Bond University Football Club by coming along to all the home games here on campus.

“For me, the team epitomises the University’s core value of realising ambition, and I look forward to cheering them on to victory this season.”

BUFC is keen to continue growing to field two teams in next year’s competition and is also looking to start-up a women’s AFL team in time for the 2014 Australian University Games.

If you’re interested in joining, or supporting the Bond University Football Club, check out the team’s Facebook Page or contact Gideon Ptasznik ([email protected]) or Sam Schiphorst ([email protected]).

BUFC would like to thank its sponsors for their ongoing support - BUSA, Burleigh Brewing, CBD, Krish Indian Restaurant, Linked Financial Services, Strap-It and Think Pharmacy.


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