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Coach signs on for premiership defence

Andy Lovell and Andrew Dillon
Andy Lovell with incoming AFL CEO Andrew Dillon on Grand Final day 

AFL Director Andy Lovell has set his sights on creating a Bull Sharks QAFLW dynasty after agreeing to remain the 2023 premiership winning side’s senior coach.

Bond University Vice Chancellor Professor Tim Brailsford has announced the news the Bull Sharks’ playing group were desperate to hear.

“As a university, our core mission is to develop people through the power of education and assist them to become better in their chosen profession,” he said.

“Andy Lovell is the epitome of that vision being a coach who successfully combines an elite sporting IQ with an innate ability to educate and inspire.

“When you have someone of that calibre, matched with a skillset forged by a lifetime in the AFL, it makes sense to have them leading the coaches box.’’

Lovell was recruited to Bond with a wide-ranging remit to audit the entire football operations. 

With over 150 games at AFL level for Melbourne and West Coast and a further 20 years in a variety of roles including player welfare, head of development and senior assistant coach at AFL clubs West Coast, Geelong, St Kilda and the Gold Coast Suns, he was the perfect candidate to devise a long-term strategy to cement Bond University’s reputation as not only an on-field powerhouse, but also in player and coach development. 

Along with Director of Sport Mike Collins a plan was created late last year whereby 2023 would be a season of consolidation for the Bull Sharks where Lovell would embark on a player and coach education process.

Queensland AFL icons Shaun Hart and Matt Kennedy were engaged to play a key role embedding professional training standards with an increased focus on game specific strength and conditioning.

In his first year at the helm Lovell delivered twin QAFLW seniors and reserves premierships while overseeing the men’s program which also reached two Grand Finals and ultimately led to the reserves’ first premiership.

With a baseline of standards set and the gameplan now entrenched, the decision was made that Lovell could serve the players best by remaining in his current role.

“Andy not only has the most critical role within the football department, his experience is also incredibly important to the wider Bond Sport community,” Collins said.

“Eventually we envisage that he will transition into a non-coaching director’s role but for now we see so much opportunity for improvement that we want him, and he wants to remain, at the coalface.

“We had a great year and reaching grand finals in all four grades is an exceptional result, but we always saw 2023 as a year of consolidation.

“The structures and standards he hammered into the club all year should now be innate and it is exciting to see where he can take them now as he builds on that.’’

Lovell, who was thriving in his post football career prior to joining Bond, now admits to a reluctance to withdraw from the coaching role.

“I owe the girls in my side and the entire club a huge thank you for reigniting my passion for this great game,” he said.

“They are sponges for information and the transformation from those first weeks of pre-season has been incredible to see. 

“We enjoyed some success, and it was great to see the players rewarded for their efforts, but what excites me most is where we can go from here.

“I feel like across all our grades we’ve just learnt to function as a team and to be hard to play against, now we can start to really put time into individual skill development.’’

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