By Grace Knight
Finals hopes remain alive for the Bull Sharks reserves in the QFA Division 2 South competition after a commanding 66-17 win over the Coolangatta-Tweed Blues.
After a tenacious start by Coolangatta, the Bull Sharks rallied to produce a game of free-flowing football in the second half of the match, booking their spot in the preliminary final against the Carrara Saints next weekend. A win over the Saints would put them up against the Burleigh Bombers in the grand final.
Sadly, the season has ended for the senior men’s side who suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Burleigh Bombers in their knockout semi-final 75-44.
After dominating the Bond University oval throughout the 2022 season, it was just the second time the Bull Sharks had been defeated on their home turf.
Burleigh started strongly, kicking their first goal in the opening minute and closing out the quarter with four goals to the Bull Sharks’ single behind.
Both teams struggled to convert when kicking into the strong easterly wind, with the Bull Sharks making a ferocious comeback following the goal-end change, pulling a 28-point margin back to just three points.
A slow third quarter saw the Bull Sharks hold their margin despite the gusting winds but the side seemed to run out of steam in the final quarter, with Burleigh scoring 22 more points to clinch the match.
The scoreboard failed to reflect the relentless efforts of the Bull Sharks forward line which dominated ball possession throughout the match.
Ruckman Daniel Goodburn worked tirelessly, using his height to advantage across the field. Harry Ireland also starred at centre-half-back, perfectly placing himself to assist in several shots at goal.
William King was another standout player in the Bull Sharks backline, producing consistent turnarounds and impactful tackles.
WHAT IT MEANS
While Burleigh put an end to the men’s seniors’ finals hopes, the team finished in fourth place overall after a strong and consistent season.
The Burleigh Bombers will now head into the preliminary final against the Carrara Saints in a knockout decider to see who will join the Coolangatta-Tweed Blues in the upcoming grand final.
WHAT THEY SAID
Head coach John Chenhall said it was a disappointing end to the season but he was proud of his team.
“We expected better but we were just shown what level you have to go to in finals, and we really were left a little bit wanting,” he said.
Chenhall said his players had shown unrelenting determination and the team would be back stronger than ever next year.
“Nobody goes out there not to give their all, so I can’t question their effort or want to perform. Whilst it’s no excuse, being a young university side, we’ve just got to work out how to get the best of our young players, especially when we come up against those experienced teams like Burleigh,” he said.
“I really hope to return as coach next season as I’ve definitely got another one in me. I’ve seen massive improvement and I really hope to see us go all the way in coming years.”