By Jordan Hughes
The Bull Sharks are preparing for a physical onslaught from Souths Magpies in their round 15 clash on Saturday.
Bond, fresh off a commanding 31-point victory over Norths, are motivated to keep the momentum going as they travel to Chipsy Wood Oval.
LAST TIME THEY MET
It was round six when these two sides last went head-to-head with Bond holding on to a five point lead to win 29-24 at The Canal.
Both teams play an expansive style of rugby, the last three times they have met has resulted in over 50 points scored between the two sides.
The Bull Sharks welcome back John Eales Rugby Excellence Scholarship holder and former Queensland Red Alex Mafi for his first game back in over six months after sustaining a neck injury.
Mafi, who was capped 60 times in Super Rugby for the Reds, makes the move down south to the Melbourne Rebels in 2023.
Bond will be without electric fullback Jayden Ngamanu who went down last weekend with a compound fracture to his thumb.
Captain Dan Boardman and powerful backrower Devon Henson will undergo fitness tests, both are vying for selection after missing the match against Norths.
WHERE IT WILL BE WON
Vice-captain Jake Upfield is gearing up his forward pack to lead the way this weekend against Souths’ heavier pack.
“Traditionally they are a very big pack and they will be up for it, they are always strong at home,” said Upfield.
“It will be a big day for them with their Ladies’ Day but the onus is on us to back up a good performance."
Reviewing the Norths match, the Bull Sharks are determined to keep evolving every week as the Hospital Cup finals series fast approaches.
“We did our review and we found we are still inconsistent with the ball in hand at times, we probably didn’t execute as well as we should have in those A and B zones.
“Defensively, we just need to hit and stick a bit more and stay consistent in our structures.
“We play our best when we are confident in our defence and when feel we are not under stress. We will take those learnings into Souths,” he said.
Upfield leads the competition in lineout wins and has been key to helping Bond dominate one of the most contested components of the game.
“We drill it really hard at training and it’s something me and all the forwards take pride in.
“It is a stat that is looked at after every game and to be honest with you, after the Wests game it probably wasn’t there, so we took great pride in showing up against Norths,” he said.
WHO TO WATCH
“I reckon flyhalf Tyler Campbell has shown over the last few weeks that he is so close to putting in a perfect performance,” said Upfield.
“You can see how hard he goes out there, and if the forwards can lay a good platform, then I think you will see him shine.”
IN OTHER GRADES
Second grade are preparing for a huge clash this weekend in a third against fourth battle with the Magpies.
Bond are sitting in third position on 44 points just one point behind East Tigers. A win could propel the Bull Sharks into a top two position, however, a loss could see Bond drop to fourth with Souths only two points behind.
The first grade side, who sit sixth on the ladder, will take on eighth placed Souths Magpies in another must win match at Yeronga.
MATCH DAY INFORMATION
If you can’t make it to the ground, you can catch the main match live on Stan Sport.
First grade - Saturday 3:35pm – Souths Rugby Club
Second grade – Saturday 1:50pm – Souths Rugby Club
Third grade – Saturday 11:10am – Souths Rugby Club
Colts one – Saturday 12:30pm – Souths Rugby Club
Colts two – Saturday 10:55am – Souths Rugby Club
Premier women – Saturday 9:50am – Souths Rugby Club