Bond University has established itself as the top rugby 7s program in Queensland with a clean sweep of the State Championship tournament at Easts Tigers this weekend.
The women made it back-to-back Charlotte Caslick Cup victories while the men avenged their grand final loss in 2022 to claim their first Stannard Shield as State Champions.
And teen sensation Amahli Mala has cemented her status as the hottest young prospect in the game by scoring a hat-trick of tries in all three games in a stunning opening day performance.
How it played out:
The Bull Sharks have developed a reputation for strong starts throughout this 7s season and the day one domination continued in the final event of the season.
The women’s side conceded just two tries as they won all three matches but the day belonged to Hala with her nine tries.
The men were a little shakier, drawing 19-19 with UQ in the opener before finding their groove with two clinical wins including a 49-0 thumping of Brothers when Rocco Gollings also collected a hat-trick.
Day two saw the women produce a strong win over GPS to book a showdown with archrivals Easts Tigers in the decider.
The final started poorly for the Bull Sharks with Shalom Sauaso receiving a yellow card and the Tigers landing the first blow with an early try.
However, Bond responded with long range try of their own and at half time they trailed 7-5.
The seesaw contest continued after the break. Easts scored before Sauaso once again made her presence known, scoring her second try to reduce the deficit to 14-12 with three minutes left.
The maturity and competitive spirit of the young Bull Sharks side was on display in the tense final moments as they showed patience with the ball in hand by maintaining possession until finding an opportunity out wide where Fa’agase Tupuola-Palale was able to bulldoze her way over to take the lead 19-14.
Bond then muscled up in defence, forcing the Tigers into touch to seal back-to-back Charlotte Caslick Cups and taking out the State Championship tournament.
The Bull Shark men remained unbeaten on day two and took on the Souths Magpies in the final. Their attacking flair continued in the decider as they raced to a 12-0 lead courtesy of two tries to Kitone Taliga.
Regan Muir scored first in the second half to push the lead to 19-0 before the Magpies showed some fight by scoring two quick tries with a minute left to play. Again it was defence that sealed the victory as the Bull Sharks dug deep to take out the Stannard Shield for the men’s State Championship.
What they said:
Georgia Grey, who was one of the best for the Bull Sharks across the weekend, applauded the way the side stood tall as they were pushed in the final.
“We started slowly but managed to stay composed in that second half,” she said.
“The girls showed so much heart and really lifted our connection in defence and our offload ability which helped us get the win.”
It has been a new look squad for the Bull Sharks this campaign with a several youngsters getting their opportunity.
“They brought energy and passion, the future is looking very bright with the talent coming through but the way we were able come together as a team to perform the way we did is also something to be so proud of,” Grey said.
This caps off a sensational first year at Bond University for Grey who was part of the side that won the Queensland Premier premiership in the 15s and followed up with the 7s triumph.
“It’s been so special to be a part of, you don’t see a club go back-to-back in both 7s and 15s and it shows the talent but also the strong family culture that Bond has,” she said. “I can’t wait for next season.”
Meanwhile Rhian Stowers reflected on the tournament and how the men were able to claim the Stannard Shield for the first time.
“We knew we had the team to be able to get the job done, it was just about playing together and sticking to our systems which the whole group really bought into, and we got the job done,” he said.
“We started slow and were playing as individuals but we managed to come together and really lifted our defensive pressure and deliver some statement performances.
“It was such a team performance the whole weekend and everyone played such a vital role and that was the reason we were able to come away with the win.”