By Grace Knight
Bond University AFL players will receive the very best in football education with the appointment of Queensland football greats Matthew Kennedy and Shaun Hart to the Bull Sharks coaching panel.
Hart, a three-time Brisbane Lions premiership player, and former teammate Kennedy, join Director of AFL Andy Lovell in a Bull Sharks football department that would now be the envy of any club outside the AFL.
Between them the trio boast more than 600 AFL games as players and more than three decades of experience in a variety of coaching and high-performance positions at the elite level.
Hart, the 2001 Norm Smith Medallist as best on ground in the AFL Grand Final, joins as Coach Education and Culture Development Manager while Kennedy, a member of the Queensland Australian Football Hall of Fame, will fill the dual roles of Head of Strength and Conditioning and High Performance.
The duo were drafted to the Brisbane Lions, formerly known as the Brisbane Bears, in 1990 and their relationship continued post their playing days in roles at the Lions and Gold Coast Suns.
Hart, who played 273 AFL games, was also Director of Coaching at Port Adelaide.
“I’ve been involved in various roles since my playing days including development, personal excellence, assistant coaching roles, as well as coaching director over at Port Adelaide,” Hart said.
“I’m now really looking forward to joining Bond University to work with the coaches, and with the players to build our culture.
“I’m also incredibly excited to be working alongside Max (Matthew) Kennedy. Max and I go a long way back to early draft days and through our whole career really.”
Kennedy, a Gold Coast junior and Southport AFL Club Hall of Fame member, played 188 AFL games. He has been coaching athletes for 15 years.
Kennedy has worked with the Bull Sharks previously in casual coaching roles and worked with Bond’s teams for a training camp in 2021.
“I’m really looking forward to the new role. I’ve always had one eye on Bond as a really good place to work and I’ve also followed them particularly in and around their footy,” Kennedy said.
“My initial goals coming into this role are to really get to know the group as best as I possibly can, connect with them and get them to trust me, and then get them to be the fittest side in the competition.”
Between Kennedy’s experience in strength and conditioning, and Hart’s expertise in coaching and development, the Bull Sharks are in safe hands as they prepare for the 2023 season.
“I really aim to help our coaches to do the best job that they can so that our players know they’ve got the very best coaching happening within the club and also to make sure that players are maximising the potential within themselves for the team,” Hart said.
“Max and I both hold very similar values in that we really want to see people fulfil their potential, and I really look forward to building some great relationships and seeing some progress made in people’s lives on the field but particularly off the field as well.”