Men’s First Grade: Bond 22 v Easts 32
A DOMINANT first half was not enough to get the Bond First Grade side an away win over Easts at CP Bottomley Park today.
The Bull Sharks were outstanding in the opening 40 minutes, but lost all momentum after the break to go down 32-22 in the Round 11 clash.
“Going into half time I was very happy, especially into the wind. I thought we played to the conditions very well and had put ourselves into a position to go on with it,” said Bond head coach Grant Anderson.
“But, in the second half we just didn’t respect possession enough. There were too many individual errors and again we suffered telling injuries to (fullback) Tyler Campbell (knee), (winger) Max Dowd (hamstring) and (Number Eight) Zac Moi Moi (hamstring).
“That made it challenging for the boys left out there … but I was enormously proud of the way they reacted and got themselves in the position to score a try at the end which gave us a four-try bonus point.
“Across the day all our teams did so well and tried so hard … never stopped trying. That is a great indication of where this club is and what it is about.
“I am really proud of this club. Bottomley Park is a tough venue.
“We play to win, but it is about far more than the win. You look at today and players like George Blake - back this year for the first time from injury, Jack Winchester - back from rep duties with the Western Force. And Dylan Rowe, if you could buy whatever he has got in him and put it into everyone else you would have a championship team. Connor Pritchard cannot give any more than what he does every week.
“You don’t get those passionate performances unless the players care about the team and the club.
“So, there are so many positives out of today. Yes, the loss stings and we talked about it after the game. The boys are hurting. Individuals are putting their hand up saying: ‘I did not play well enough today, but I will next week’. And that is all you can ask.
“You can’t coach desire, attitude, enthusiasm and these players are wanting to get better every week.
“As far as our best today, again Tasi (Tautalatasi Tasi) was outstanding. He is the best 12 in the competition and has played at Super Rugby level. He is an excellent young man and the Reds need to take notice of him."
Easts, the reigning premiers in the Allsports Physiotherapy Hospital Challenge Cup, not only had the home ground advantage, but also opened the match with a howling wind at their backs, which they used to their benefit several times in the opening stanza.
However, Bond showed early forward dominance. The Bull Sharks opened the try-scoring through a Winchester five-pointer in the seventh minute that came on the back of two outstanding rolling mauls.
Bond were winning the middle, but they also mixed that sensationally with some slick backline ball movement. This was certainly the case in the 23rd minute when the Bull Sharks took the ball almost the length of the field for a try to winger Max Dowd and a 12-6 lead, which remained the score-line at the break.
The Tigers were the first to find the tryline in the second half before Dowd went over for his second try in the 46th minute and a 17-13 lead to the visitors.
However, from there Easts showed the more composure running in three more tries to take an unassailable lead before Bond flanker Rowe scored in the 80th minute.
“Next week we will focus on improving our kicking game and also our game management, around when we can be a little more creative with ball in hand and maintain pressure,” said Anderson.
“Our defensive performance today was another step up. But full credit to Easts, they are well-coached and as they proved, very dangerous.”
On the scoresheet it was a dismal day for the Bull Sharks in Brisbane, with just the one win – Colts 2 coming up with a season-defining 24-20 win over the Tigers.
Here’s what each of the Bull Sharks’ coaches had to say:
Women’s First Grade: Bond 19 v Easts 20
Women’s coaching director Setu Naseri:
“This certainly was the one that got away. A disappointing result.
“We scored points and then tried to play out of our own half, so territorially we could have been better – should have played for field position. Our decision-making in that regard wasn’t where it should have been.
“Of course we had players out on rep duties, but that is not an excuse because all teams are in the same position.
“All today’s result means is that we have to go back to the drawing board and go again. We are not far away from where we need to be, but just have to work on our execution.
“We lost Grace Baker (lock) about 20 minutes in with a head knock and that was a big loss. She was leading the way defensively.
“Jane Parsons, Leshaye Anderson and Elaine Totasi, they came off the bench and added some real impact. So, we know the depth is there.
“Jemma Bemrose (4) and Jetaya Faifau (10) were consistent as always.
“We pick up the bonus point for finishing within seven, which is handy, but the four points for a win would have been so much better.”
Men’s Second Grade: Bond 24 v Easts 40
Bond Head Coach Grant Anderson:
“This was a typical performance from this team – they just don’t give up. Easts had a number of players coming back into First Grade, which of course has a knock-on effect. But our blokes just never throw in the towel.
“Bond had a number of tries scored against them from individual errors – three kick charge-downs and an intercept.
“But they had plenty of really good performers – Tyrell Kopua (2) just keeps developing his game, new winger Aka Durosolo had some really strong carries and (6) Tylor Bunting was again impressive.”
Men’s Third Grade: Bond 28 v Easts 45
Bond Third Grade coach Jai Johnson:
“It was a loss, but a loss that we handed to them. We made mistakes early and they capitalised on them. Once again we let the opposition piggyback up the field, which too often resulted in them scoring. You make mistakes in your own half and they will come back hard at you.
“It is about the players on the field being accountable. Sure, there are players coming in and out, but that is the same with all grades. But, what that means is the 23 who take the field just have to combine and do it together.
“We were just a try behind soon after half time. Had we been able to take our opportunities when we were in their half, then probably a different result.
“But we made some silly errors securing our ball in attack and that cost us.
“Our captain Max Booth (7) was again outstanding in all aspects of his game - his leadership, his attacking and his work right across the field.
“Andictor Petelo in the front row was also impressive. He played a full game at loose head.
“Our 10, Mitchell Currie kicked very well and winger Lucus Munoz continues to impress. He has had two very good games for us. He came out of Colts and this is only his third season in the game after coming across from Chile.
“We gain a bonus point, so we will take that and move on.”
Colts 1: Bond 14 v Easts 33
Bond Colts 1 coach Brenden Jones:
“I am certainly not worried by that loss, or by anything that I saw today (against the ladder leaders). At this stage of the season we will gain far more from a loss to a top side than if we had come away with a win.
“That is especially the case in the Colts division. Sometimes a win in these circumstances can lead to complacency – ‘we have got this’ – whereas now, over the next week at training the players will be focused on improving.
“There are a number of areas we are concentrating on at the moment and in several of those we showed a marked improvement today. Especially at the breakdowns. Our aim is to slow the ball down, gain turnovers, chase hard and that was the case today.
“Our lineout remains our Achilles heel. So, there is work to do there.
“Our best today were our Number Eight Marlon Jones, who dominated whenever he was part of the action, which was very often. And our halfback Lachie McInnes did everything well – his service, decision-making – all top class.”
Colts 2: Bond 24 v Easts 20
Bond Colts 2 coach Mick Barnao:
“That is the turning point of our year. The players finally put it together.
“We did not start well - small mistakes, bad decisions and we were down 12-0 pretty quickly. I feared for the worst. The start was disappointing because we had been in a really good mind-frame this week at training.
“But we held back on subs and allowed the players to find their harmony. They came back late in the first half and went into the break just one try down.
“We spoke at half time and the message was: ‘This is where it all happens. The character of this team is built today. It is determined on how we play out this second half’.
“And we responded. Executed well. Exit plays were very good. No backyard footy, which was pleasing. Our carries and territorial play were excellent.
“We have worked hard at training on the breakdown – and ball security. In the first half Easts got one pilfer and none in the second half. So that was a real high point. Our players kept our structures for most of the game, which was a major step forward. The penny has dropped. If you work to your structure, opportunities will come. And they took those opportunities and defended well.
“But it was an emotional rollercoaster from a coaching perspective.
“We scored with about four minutes to go to take the lead and then held on with some intelligent play.
“Our best today were our two props – Iafeta Maa and Titan Beer - our Number Eight, Luke Kofotua and breakaway Harry Ghusn, who was everywhere again.
“In the backs, our 10 Josh Radcliffe played his first game in that position and did very well. Also, winger Michael Taulepa had some very strong carries.”