The Bull Sharks have just one more round of the regular season remaining before the hunt for their second flag in four years begins in earnest.
Last weekend they were ordered by coach John Chenhall to play ‘as if they were already in the finals’ and their tenacity paid off with a gripping one-point win over arch rivals Coolangatta Tweed.
The team also experienced a season first in round 17 at The Canal; Bond managed to get through the game without any injuries.
The Bull Sharks’ goal was to finish in the top three on the ladder and their thrilling victory over the cross-border town team cemented their position.
But the third placed Bull Sharks will be at a disadvantage against ladder leaders Carrara; the Saints are adept at controlling the game at their smaller-sized Alan Neilson Oval.
It is shaping up as a massive test for Bond who will likely meet Carrara at some point during the QAFL Division 2 finals.
LAST TIME THEY MET
Carrara and the Bull Sharks faced-off six rounds ago at Bond University with the hosts falling by five points.
Just two points separated the sides leading into the third quarter which Bond dominated three goals to one to establish an 11-point lead.
However, the final quarter was all about the Saints who piled on 29 points to seal the win.
It was a tightly contested game and Bond, in stages, was the better side, however their lapses proved too costly when the Saints started to run away with the game.
Another tight battle looms on Saturday afternoon.
The last time the reserves teams met, the Saints won the physicality battle to emerge 27-point victors.
Right now, third placed Bond University sit just behind Carrara on the ladder.
Chenhall is expected to field the same team which defeated Coolangatta Tweed.
A couple of players are racing the clock to be fit in time, however, the coach doesn’t want to risk further injuries at the pointy end of the season if they are not 100 per cent.
The reserves will welcome back Nick Walker, Mitch Dell and Mitch Mills against Carrara.
WHERE IT WILL BE WON
Chenhall is predicting the game will be won in the midfield but his engine room will have their work cut out.
“It will be won at the contest, at the stoppage, whichever team can win those and then get out into free space will be on track to win. But that will be hard to do at their ground as it is smaller,” he said.
“At the Carrara ground their centre is sort of pushed to one side, so there is a wide side and a narrow side.”
Carrara boast an intimidating forward line which Bond has identified as the Saints’ key weapon. Four tall players will stretch Bond’s defence. But the University’s backline faced a similar problem last weekend and held their nerve.
IF WE WIN/LOSE
Regardless of the result, Bond will retain third position on the ladder.
They can finish second if Coolangatta Tweed succumb to Coomera. That scenario would guarantee Bond a home final.
“We as coaches talk about those possible outcomes but we don’t let the players think about that,” Chenhall said.
“It doesn’t matter who we are playing or when, we always keep that philosophy.”
MATCH DAY INFORMATION
Saturday August 13
Carrara v Bond University 12:00pm Alan Neilson Oval 1
Carrara v Bond University 2:00pm Alan Nielson Oval 1