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Bull Sharks triumph in scrappy affair

The Bull Sharks made the long trip down to the QFA's most inhospitable venue at Ballina on Saturday to take on the Stingrays and like many games played there, they had to win ugly. Meanwhile the QAFLW side have a few areas to address after being outmuscled by Southport.    

Tom Ferguson v Stingrays
Tom Ferguson finds some space against the Stingrays. 

QFA 

Bull Sharks v Southern Stingrays at Ballina. 

Bull Sharks won 14.19 (103) to 6.7 (43) 

Best: Ryan Dienjes, Matthew Green, Nicholas Francis, Kain Ford, Dean Hepburn, Oliver Burrows-Cheng.

Where it was won:

In a very scrappy untidy affair, the team started to find its groove after the halftime break. Southern are a very competitive outfit who made the day a super challenging one for us. There were patches where we looked like the side we need to be against the best opposition although the coaches would still have some headaches in some of the passages of play that broke down due to poor execution or decision making. We ended up winning on the back of talent rather than effort.

The highlight:

There were two players who came into the side and performed very well with very different stories and footy journeys. One an established senior footballer and the other a young charger playing his first senior game in a long time. Ben Holman is a strong, highly talented defender and Dean Hepburn a slightly built crafty forward and both did very well at either end of the ground. 

What made you happy:

It was pleasing was the way the team finished the game to win convincingly. It was a ground and a team that can be a real challenge to find your game style against. The Stingrays scrap all day, and the ground conditions can be very challenging for travelling teams. No excuses because this is the reality that teams face in Ballina, so to finish the game the way we did was a pleasing aspect. 

Bull Sharks Football:

The reality was that we played 30mins of Bull Sharks footy for the day. We have taken a step forward from last week although have plenty of work to do. The main area where we need a steely focus is making the right decision by foot and taking the game on when it presents as we have the talent to do this. 

The work to do:

There is plenty of work to do. The main focus will be on cleaning up poor execution and working hard both ways. Far too many times we were slow to react in defence and were caught out. That said, we were much better in most areas from last week, so we are on the up.

Trademark Player:

Ryan Dienjes was clearly the Trademark Player this week. Ryan played down back and wasn’t beaten at any point of the game. He uses the ball very well also and on multiple occasions shifted the ball out of defence which opened the ground up for our players to work into. It was his first game back after a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to a neck injury. 

Reserves.

Bull Sharks won 19.11 (125) to 1.1 (7).

Best: Adam Forward, Luke Manns, Kane Peeters, Seth Burquest, Joshua Clark.

QAFLW 

Bull Sharks v Southport at Southport.

Bull Sharks lost 8.6 (54) to 4.4 (28)

Best: Ella Calleja, Tahlia Meyer, Paris Lightfoot, Mia Salisbury, Charlotte Taylor, Nyalli Milne 

Where it was won:  

Ella Calleja
Ella Calleja 

Centre bounce clearances and stoppages. Southport clearly won this area with their dominant rucks and big strong physical midfielders. They won ground position and were able to pin us down and score.

The highlight: 

Ella Calleja was dominant for the Bull Sharks and took many fine marks up forward and around the ground.

What made you happy: 

Given that we were down against an in-form team, it was pleasing that we kept fighting. We had our opportunities to be still in the game at three quarter time but we failed to finish off in a critical last quarter. 

Bull Sharks Football: 

We had a disappointing start to the game where we allowed the opposition to dominate us physically and outnumber us around the loose ball. We fought our way back into the contest and created a number of real opportunities to hit the lead but unfortunately missed multiple chances. The consequence was that we couldn’t apply any scoreboard pressure.  

The work to do:

I believe with us it’s as much mental as it is physical. We have to believe that our best is as good as any team in the competition. To win against the best teams we have to play our brand of football for four quarters, not two and a half  like we did on  Saturday.

Trademark player: 

Ella Calleja was dominant in the air all day and worked tirelessly to drive us into attack. She was physical at the ball and body and really led by example all game. Unfortunately, she didn’t have enough support around her. 

Reserves.

Bull Sharks lost 5.4 (34) to 4.2 (26) 

Best: Lexi Samuels, Tobi Chapman, Annabelle Foat, Jasmine Single, Evy Reeves, Hannah Garland.

With Andy Lovell. 

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