By Jordan Hughes
They might be the Queensland Premier Women’s Rugby Champions, but the Bond Bull Sharks aren’t resting on their laurels.
After celebrating their stunning 25-12 win over Easts Tigers in Sunday’s Grand Final at Suncorp Stadium, the team is already looking to their next run of big matches as the Rugby Sevens season kicks off.
The UniSport Rugby 7s competition (formally known as the AON Uni 7s) starts in Adelaide later this month, followed by the Queensland State Sevens tournament in November.
The Bull Sharks will be hoping to continue the form they showed last weekend when they stormed home to secure the rugby club’s first premiership trophy since 2015.
Despite a slow start with the powerful Easts side dominating possession in the first half, the Bull Sharks fought back with some hard work from the backline and a stellar personal performance from centre Melanie Wilks.
Wilks, who took out the inaugural Cheyenne Campbell medal as player of the match, delivered a try and two penalty goals for the Bull Sharks.
Although trailing by five points at half-time, Bond came out strong in the second half as speedster Diane Waight crossed over to put the Bull Sharks back in the lead and experienced winger Caity Costello secured the win with a final try in front of the vocal crowd.
Second rower Zoe Hanna was full of emotion following the bruising encounter.
“I’m so stoked that we won. The first 20 was a bit risky when they scored two tries straight up with plenty of physicality, but we stayed composed and backed our fitness to get the job done,” she said.
“We just wanted it so badly and we knew what we needed to improve going into the match. We knew we had to just stick to what we do well, which we did coming away with the win.”
Team Manager Kim Schuck, whose daughter Madi plays in the team, said she was proud of the side’s resilience throughout the season as injuries forced wholesale team changes almost weekly.
“We certainly had our challenges, but I just love working with all the girls and the coaches, it’s just a really good group,” she said.
“The fact that we have young girls and the older girls with such a wide array of experience levels paved the way for that mateship and played a huge role in securing the premiership.”
Shuck’s long involvement with rugby dates back to 1999, managing four different junior teams in Brisbane. She’s watched the incredible growth of women’s rugby in Australia, largely thanks to the popularity of the sevens game.
“The rise of the sevens game was huge for the sport with girls being able to play premier rugby at a younger age,” she said.
“It gave them the chance to play representative rugby like Super W and then nationally with the Wallaroos.”
The proud mum watched from the sidelines earlier this year as her own daughter made her Wallaroos debut. Madi Schuck has also been named in the Wallaroos squad travelling to New Zealand for the World Cup next month.