By Grace Knight
It will be all eyes on the reserves this weekend as anticipation builds for an exciting season finale.
Having already won the minor premiership, the senior men have progressed straight to the second qualifying final next week.
Meanwhile, the reserves men will take on the Burleigh Bombers in what promises to be a high-intensity first qualifying final.
If the men can secure a victory over Burleigh, they will progress to the second qualifying final at The Canal – a huge home-ground advantage.
Last week the women’s seniors paved their path to the grand final and now the reserves women are seeking to follow in their footsteps, locking horns with the Aspley hornets in a preliminary final showdown.
Settling old scores
As the dust settles on an intense season, the reserves men find themselves on the cusp of redemption in their cross-city rivalry against Burleigh.
The Bull Sharks took a narrow victory over the Bombers in round 7 with a scoreline of 60-56, however Burleigh evened the score in round 12 when they claimed a victory of their own, 68-48.
The women’s reserves previously encountered Aspley in round 5 where they suffered a rough defeat, 78-8.
In round 13 the Bull Sharks got their revenge when they took a commanding win, 97-27.
Another win this weekend could propel the Bull Sharks women into the grand final, while a defeat would conclude their season in third place.
Who’s in, who’s out
After battling consistency and ever-changing player availability this season, the reserves are finally beginning to experience some stability.
Despite having access to seven of their experienced academy girls this weekend, the reserves team are putting their faith in their true-blue players – some who have been in the club for several years.
“This week we’ve actually shut the door on the academy girls,” head coach Gough Greer said.
“While the club has the opportunity to somewhat stack the squad, we’ve decided to back our reserves girls and I think it shows that we have a lot of faith in them to get the job done.”
On the other hand, the men’s reserves are looking forward to the luxury of choices.
With the senior men’s bye, the reserves will have several eligible senior players at their disposal to boost their team for their all-important game.
“We’ve had a late blow to our defensive anchor Michael Roe who is recovering from a knee injury,” head coach James Fitchett said.
“But other than that, I think our team list is looking the strongest it’s been all year.”
The reserves women know to expect a tough game against Aspley.
“I would say Aspley play the most similar style of footy to us compared to any other team in the competition,” coach Greer said.
“They hold really good shape and they like to move the footy fast.
“I’m hoping that our season’s worth of hard work will really come together this weekend.”
The men’s reserves also understand that when it comes to finals there’s no room for error.
“Finals are like a mini season all over again but with much higher stakes,” coach Fitchett said.
“We need to come out firing, and judging by how the group is training we hope to do exactly that.”