Bond might be the only club in the QFA who don’t pay their players, but at the end of the day a good culture can’t be bought.
So, what is it that keeps the Bull Sharks sticking around?
You could put it down to the A-grade coaching staff or the experience of being a university club.
Playing for the Bond is a unique experience in that it has an ever-changing list of players with students coming in and out of the university.
But one thing that remains constant is every member’s passion and commitment to the club.
Bachelor of Commerce student athlete Archie Prime has been at Bond since January 2022.
Whilst moving from Melbourne to the Gold Coast at 18 years old is a big step, Prime says he found his home away from home when he joined the Bond AFL Club.
“This has been my second season at Bond, and I’ve really just grown to love the club and all of the people within it,” he said.
“Since moving to the Gold Coast, having the footy club has been such a great part of my journey at Bond, and I really just found my family here.”
Madison Bland, a Bond veteran with over 100 games for the club says it’s the uniquely altruistic culture that has kept him at Bond for over five years.
“As the only club who don’t pay their players, everyone involved with Bond plays and stays because they genuinely love being there,” he said.
“By removing the financial incentive, it removes any egotism or sense of hierarchy.
“Everyone is equal and valued for their commitment to the game, the club, and each other.”
If the club culture wasn’t enough of an incentive, you could put it down to the A-grade coaching team provided by Bond university.
At the beginning of 2023 the club made a significant investment into their coaching staff when they hired three highly credentialled ex-AFL players in Andy Lovell, Matthew Kennedy and Shaun Hart.
“To have the likes of Harty, Maxy, and Chopper (Lovell) come on board, that’s been nothing short of club altering,” said Bland.
“It was clear that they were A-grade humans first, and great footy players second.
“They invested in us as people, which is easier said than done.”
By employing Lovell as Director of AFL, Kennedy as Strength and Conditioning Coach and Hart as the Education and Culture Development Manager, Bond just might boast the country’s most qualified amateur football coaching team.
“The team’s care for the individual ensured a reciprocation from the playing group that elevated our commitment to trainings, gameday, and each other,” Bland said.
“Not to mention the professionalism in improving our fitness levels, team structure, and training schedule.
“Even as someone who’s somewhat more of a ‘veteran’ now, I most definitely expanded my understanding of football and life, and I’ve never been in better physical shape.”