Bond University have sent a clear message across Queensland Premier Rugby with a commanding 26-16 victory over Brothers at the Canal.
The Bull Sharks’ fierce spirit shone through as they defended desperately for the final five minutes with just 13 men on the field after receiving two yellow cards.
Connor Pritchard was the hero in the dying minutes when he forced a turnover to seal the result in front of an elated Bond crowd celebrating past players’ round.
The Bull Sharks, missing play maker Hayden Sargeant (hamstring) and powerhouse Irish lock Matt Dalton (knee) with long term injuries, proved they have the depth to be a genuine premiership challenger with the 10-pioint victory.
The home side started strongly with the first try coming in the 11th minute to hooker Tyrell Kopua off the back of the rolling maul.
Bond’s second try came late in the half when the ball popped up for Devon Hansen who flicked it to Rhys Sheriff who found speedstar Max Dowd who ran 25 metres untouched to score.
Bond failed to convert on several try scoring opportunities as they were held up over the line on 3 occasions, but their defence held strong keeping Brothers scoreless to go into the half time break leading 14-0.
Brothers got the perfect start in the second half with an early penalty goal followed by breakout try from winger Callum Hicks making it a 6-point game.
The Bull Sharks demonstrated their intent when Tyler Campbell showed pure determination to reach out and score in his first starting appearance for first grade this season, after some superb passing from Dan Lancaster and Rhys Sheriff in the lead up.
Just moments later, Bond continued the onslaught with their 4th try of the afternoon when Marlon Jones scored his first try for first grade following another bulldozing run from Abele Atunaisa which left a sea of bodies in his wake.
However, when Brothers crossed through Billy Bully, the gap was only 10 points heading into the final 15 minutes.
After numerous infringements at the breakdown, referee Brett Cronin, lost his patience and Tyrell Naleba received a yellow card.
Then just moments later flyhalf Dan Lancaster was also marched for dissent, leaving Bond with 13 men for the final 5 minutes.
Bond muscled up in defence and a final turnover from Pritchard sealed the emphatic win.
Bond University captain Dan Boardman was pleased with the mental toughness of his side to stay in the contest and their ability to rise to the occasion.
“I thought it was a really good game, in the second half particularly for guys to hold on and not let them back into the match especially getting 2 yellow cards and playing with 13 men showed real character,” he said.
The influence of Tyler Campbell in his return to the starting side made a big difference in adding that second playmaking option for Bond.
“I was stoked for Tyler to get back out there. He made some really good contributions and I’m excited to sink my teeth in and form a strong partnership in the centres with him,” said Boardman.
It was a special day for Bond welcoming all the past players from the years gone by and their raucous support certainly added extra support for the Bull Sharks.
“It was awesome to see so many old faces around that have played at a higher level and won grand finals going back to the Breakers days which is really motivating for us this year,” Boardman said.
Bond will be back on the road next week as they take on the Easts Tigers in Round 9.