Men’s First Grade: Bond 46 v Sunnybank 7
Bond University Rugby head coach Grant Anderson converted his plan of going into this week’s bye with a victory, with the Bull Sharks easily accounting for Sunnybank 46-7 in their Round 12 clash of the Allsports Physiotherapy Hospital Challenge Cup at The Canal on Saturday.
With a mounting injury toll Anderson targeted this match as a ‘must win’. His players delivered across the park in cool, windy conditions.
“It is always good to get the win and a bonus point,” Anderson said. “The boys worked really hard especially in the second half. They earned the right to play with the footy. We were able to take our opportunities more than we have in previous games.
“We have struggled with injuries this season and at the moment we have probably 10 players who are injured who would be in contention for the top squad.
“I would expect to only get about half of those back for the finals.
“However, I have no doubt this is still a premiership team. I still have faith that the players we have and the work they have put in this season will stand them in very good stead come finals. Going into the bye weekend knowing that we will stay third is a big boost for the club.”
The Bull Sharks dominated possession in the first half against Sunnybank and went into the break up 22-7. The home side could have been in an even more dominating position at half-time but squandered a number of scoring opportunities
Bond opened the second half scoring with a try to hooker Jack Winchester from a strong forward push, from there the Bull Sharks did not look challenged at all.
Joey Fittock (15) announced his run-on return to first grade from injury with a try-scoring treble. His second five-pointer came from a 75metre Bond raid, which ended with captain Dan Boardman chipping through for the fullback to win a footrace to the ball and score.
Anderson was rapt in his talented young front row - Zane Nonggorr, Winchester and George Blake.
But there were plenty more Bull Sharks deserving accolades.
“I put down a challenge to Devon Henson in the second half to be more physical around his defence and he responded very well,” said Anderson.
“Connor Pritchard, outstanding again. He is definitely one of the best Number 7s in the competition. Dylan Rowe’s leadership and toughness on the edge was very good.
“In the backs, it was great to see Joey Fittock bag three tries in his first full game back. Dion Samuela’s game had a real maturity about it, which is something we challenged him about during the week. He was a late inclusion after overcoming an injury scare.
“And it was also good to see Byron Hutchinson come on and have an impact in his first game for Bond.
“Looking ahead, I have been really pleased with our defence in recent weeks. In attack we need to start varying things a bit. The boys just need to be confident enough to use the right attack when needed.
“We are also really focused on our driving maul. It is a real attacking weapon for us. It has been going well, but we want it to be better, especially when in the opposition 22.”
Here’s what each of the other Bull Sharks’ coaches had to say:
Women’s First Grade: Bond 7 v Sunnybank 31
Women’s First Grade coach Lawrence Faifua:
“We just lacked experience out there on Saturday. We had a couple of youngsters – 15 and 16-year-olds running our shape. And they did really well, but experience is key.
“We currently have 11 players out on representative duty. So that really tells.
“Ours is a young crew, but they have done really well. Sunnybank are pretty experienced and they threw everything at us on Saturday night.
“We did the hard yards … probably defended about 75% of the first half and then we started to see some ball and made some inroads, but just couldn’t finish. Our execution was an issue. We would get an overlap, but then the pass would go to ground.
“Our rep players will be back after this weekend’s bye. So, all of our players will be back for our next game against GPS – a top of the table clash.
“Our standouts on Saturday were our front row – Jane Parsons, Jane Elika, Tara Reed and Georgia Cameron, who rotated.
“Our youngsters did really well – Skyla Adams (10), Imogen Hei (9) and two bench players, Shannon Symons and Tamika Smith, they provided good impact.”
Men’s Second Grade: Bond 38 v Sunnybank 20
Bond Second Grade coach Damon Virtue:
“A good result in the end, but we dropped our level of play in the first half. In the second half we made some adjustments and a few guys who came off the bench added some real value. So, I was really happy with the finish to the game.
“We have faced a lot of changes through injuries in first and second grade, but the boys have seen that as an opportunity and that is a real feature of the club this year - the players are stepping up and filling any void that may appear.
“We were really chasing that five points today because we know how important that is going into the bye.
“In the run into the finals there are a lot of areas we have to tidy up. Some of our ball control and our field position, we want to get better at that – building pressure and phases through field position.
“There are a few teams vying around that fourth, fifth, sixth position and we have a few tough games coming up.
“Our best against Sunnybank were Ben Boquest (second row). He was outstanding. This is just his second game back from injury. Our hooker, Tyrell Kopua, was again very good. And Josh Havea (7) and Tylor Bunting (8) were also very busy.
Men’s Third Grade: Bond 15 v Sunnybank 29
Bond Third Grade coach Jai Johnson:
“We were able to compete up until half time, but then we lost our structure. The boys started to play one-out without any support. And we just weren’t looking after the ball. We kicked ball away and gave up penalties. And then we would get a penalty and then turn the ball over.
“Looking ahead, the positives are that we have a lot of injuries and so a lot of players will be coming back. Our scrum was very good today on the back of our two front rowers (Andictor Petelo and Vili Apelu Fenunuti), who did a full 70 minutes each.
“Too often we tried to score before we had earned that right. Numerous times we were in their red zone and then we would give them back-to-back penalties down the field.
“Missed tackles hurt us as well.
“Structure is important, but we need to be able to go from structure to what we call Bond Rugby, and then if it doesn’t go well then to be able to bring it back to structure and that is where we are falling down.
“So, our two props were our best today. Trent MaChong, who was named at fullback but played outside centre, was also very good … as was Ben Evans who started at Number Eight and then finished on the flank.”
Colts 1: Bond 38 v Sunnybank 0
Bond Colts 1 coach Brenden Jones:
“That was a good result considering the conditions because it was really belting down on occasions. Our field position in the second half was much better, which was something we were aiming for.
“We were trying to work on our processes today, which we were able to do.
“We were also after a really good hit-out because we have the bye and then GPS.
“We are now working on a three-week plan. We will focus on three-week blocks leading into the finals. The main thing we are working on is to have a fit squad leading into the finals – which makes such a big difference
“Right now it’s all about managing the injuries. We have got a lot of quality players and good depth. So, it is all about getting the best out of that situation. It may mean giving some players a rest when we know we are in the finals.
“Our best were - our new halfback Ezekeil Stewart, Marlon Jones again was a real standout just with his physical dominance. And Jimmy Nicholls (10) was very good directing play.”
Colts 2: Bond 28 v Sunnybank 0 (forfeit)
Bond Colts 2 coach Mick Barnao:
“Although this was a forfeit, we used the opportunity as a full-on opposed training session with us playing some of our blokes on their side.
“We didn’t utilise the opportunity perfectly. We wanted to build on last week’s win over Easts. Although it didn’t really go that way, it was still good to get them on the field.
“So, a forfeit, now we have a bye and then we have the run into the finals. The mindset may sound a little cliched, but we are now totally focusing on our next game, which is GPS.
“The Easts win was a confidence boost. We are now moving in the direction that we wanted to. The players know they can do it. They know that they are a finals-quality team. They know it is all there. They just have to put it together.
“In the last couple of weeks we have been strengthened by a rotation system with Colts 1, which brings in a bit more maturity, experience and drive. We have been really focusing on teamwork and I think the penny has finally dropped in that regard.
“We have got a big battle in front of us, but we are ready for it.”