By Jordan Hughes
After a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of University of Queensland, the Bull Sharks need to regroup and step up for their heavyweight clash with Brothers in round 17 this week.
In late team news, Fiji Drua player Joseva Tamani will lace up his boots for Bond. The loose forward had been playing for the Hunter Wildfires in Sydney's Shute Shield competition.
Bond take on Brothers on Saturday at 3:10pm. The game will be broadcast live on free to air station 9Gem.
LAST TIME THEY MET
Bond emerged victorious the last time the two sides met in round 8 at The Canal, the home crowd advantage resulting in 26-13 win.
This time around the sixth-placed Bull sharks will be on Brothers’ turf at Albion’s Crosby Park in search of another win over the home side, who are fourth on the ladder.
WHERE IT WILL BE WON
Brothers will be eager to bounce back after last week going down to Easts Tigers 24-22 in a thriller.
Bond Captain Dan Boardman understands the motivation their opponents will have and what the Bull Sharks will need to produce.
“Brothers are pretty well rounded, but I think we will be able to attack them in the forwards around our lineout, and then we’ll need our backs to produce something similar to last weekend and maximise off those strike plays,” said Boardman.
The Bull Sharks struggled to maintain their own ball against UQ, forcing Bond to defend for long periods of time and that is an area they want to improve on.
“We just want to win our ball - so win our lineouts, our scrums and retain our ball. We want to treasure our possession and build phases,” he said.
“If we win all our ball, compete when we don’t have it and nullify those errors, we will go a long way to winning the game on the weekend.”
Boardman, who has been Captain since 2019, has not only developed as a player but also as leader, especially when handling those tough defeats with the group.
“It’s obviously tough to lose so close and we have done it a few times this season with UQ, Wests and GPS so it’s not as if we are far off, but it’s unfortunate to go down like that when we compete. We have shown how close we are against the best,” he said.
“It shows you how close the competition is and it’s positive to know that we are right there and if we continue to move forward with the good and the bad, we still have a chance.
“I’m super confident we can do a job this weekend.”
After the gruelling performance against UQ, Bond are a nursing plenty of sore bodies but most of the group has come through injury free.
The only major injury was sustained by replacement back rower Tomas Grenon who injured his ankle.
In a positive boost, Bond will welcome back Reds star Angus Blyth into the second row this weekend to add some extra weight up front.
The coaching staff are also hopeful Melbourne Rebels-bound hooker Alex Mafi will make his long-awaited return after battling a number of injuries. Mafi will bring plenty of experience to the young front row.
IF WE WIN/LOSE
Both teams have everything to play for this weekend.
Following the 85th minute defeat to UQ, the first-grade side has slipped back into sixth place on 44 points. Mathematically, the Bull Sharks are still in the finals hunt if they can win their final two games and have other results go their way.
Brothers, who currently sit in fourth position having gone down to East Tigers, are also desperate for a win to hold onto to the last finals position.
AROUND THE GRADES
It’s a big game for Bond’s Colts One side who currently sit just outside the top four on 41 points, only trailing fourth placed Wests by one point.
Brothers’ Colts currently sit in top spot and if the Bull Sharks can pull off an upset, they would sneak into the top four heading into the last game of the regular season at The Canal next weekend.
BOND V BROTHERS ROUND 17 MATCH DAY INFORMATION
Saturday August 20
Premier Women – 10:50am Crosby Park
Colts Two – 10:50am Crosby Park
Colts One – 12:10pm Crosby Park
Third grade – 12:10pm Crosby Park
Second grade - 1:30pm Crosby Park
Premier grade – 3:10pm Crosby Park – Live on 9Gem