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Pack overrides GPS to steer Bull Sharks to victory

Tyler Campbell passes to Rhian Stowers

There were wild weather swings at The Canal on Saturday and the same can be said for the form of Bond’s rugby teams. 

The Premier Men and Women fought out solid wins against formidable GPS outfits, but it was a tough afternoon for the lower grades and Colts.  

Premier Men  

Bull Sharks won 26-17 

Where it was won:  

It was a difficult game against a good team, in very tough conditions. In the first half we found ourselves under a lot of pressure due to our poor kicking game. In the second half with the breeze at our backs the boys really stepped it up. Rhian Stowers in particular took control. His left boot helped us pin GPS in their 22 time and time again. We came back from being 10-0 down, to win 26-17 thanks to the opportunities Stowers earned us.  

The highlight: 

With a heavy constant pressure put on us, Rhys Sheriff broke from the two-meter line to score under the sticks to put us in front 14-10.  

What made you happy: 

We added to our list of debutants with the likes of Harrison Usher and Harry Bell who ran on to save our front row. They brought energy and enthusiasm early in the game, going head-to-head with the massive GPS pack. Then our experienced props Rhys Sheriff and Levi Samuela brought us home with some much-needed scrum dominance in the second half.  

Bull Sharks Football: 

We took a major step forward with our defensive pressure. When GPS had the ball, our boys were right there to force them into errors. This has been an ongoing work on for us, and we are pleased to see the improvements. Our lineout has been another weak point for us so far this season, but we not only secured our own ball but stole some important balls from GPS when they were hard on attack. 

The work to do:       

Tyler Campbell

In the conditions the boys played in, it’s hard to be critical. Our execution could use some tidying up, and our discipline let us down. We were put under pressure by our lack of discipline when we gave away easy exits for our opponents. We have to work on holding pressure, early in the game and for longer.  

Trademark player:  

Rhian Stowers had a ripper of a game. He was electric when attacking, he was a key player in the set-up of many opportunities, including the last try by Hamish Roberts. But his main contribution was his left boot. He created opportunities to attack and to leave our own territory cleanly. All of our tries can be traced back to a kick from Rhian.  

With Michael Heenan 

Second Grade Bull Sharks lost 27-10. 

Third Grade Bull Sharks lost 32-27. 

Premier Women  

Bull Sharks won 41-21 

Where it was won: 

We won the game up front because of the work we put into our scrum, defence and ball carries across the week. We knew these were areas we had to work on coming up against a GPS forward pack who are bigger and stronger than us. We were able to nullify the threat that is GPS’ sheer size through our key focus areas.  

The highlight: 

The scores that came off our back line were a major highlight. We knew heading into the season that we were going to need to make continual changes to our back row because of injuries and availability, so to watch this throw together group getting some of the best wide tries of the game was really impressive. The back row turned up the heat for this game.   

What made you happy:  

To see that the work we put into our scrums at training is paying off. We are constantly trying to improve our scrum, and this weekend, only having one prop available we didn’t expect them to be as strong as we were. Tilly Churm and Eva Butler, both converted loose forwards, really held their own against players far more experienced. They proved they can dominate in that area. Shelley Fox’s fast development has been another source of happiness.   

Bull Sharks Football: 

We pride ourselves on our attitude to always rise to challenges and adversity. This week was no different, we will continue to always find a way to win.  

The work to do: 

Our building phases and holding on to the ball are two of our continued areas that need a bit more attention. We need to get the girls more comfortable holding onto the ball in attack, rather than kicking away our possession. When we hold onto that ball, we are a very dangerous team.  

Trademark player: 

Returning to full playing duties, Zoe Hanna did not disappoint. She had strong ball carries through the middle and equally impressive ball carries in the wider channels. She managed to always find open space and had a top-notch work rate in general play. She has been developing as a really solid offensive defence player for us. I’ve said it before, but I will say it again. Zoe Hanna will be the key for us this season.  

With Shannon Symon 

Colts  

Bull Sharks lost 40-5.  

Where it was won: 

GPS played some really good rugby and were able to keep the ball moving. With their passes sticking and some very good support play they were able to score some very good tries. Our individual desire on defence was poor that allowed GPS to control the momentum through the match.  

The highlight: 

 Our only try came from a set piece where we were able to score within three phases.  

What made you happy: 

Sam Howarth was outstanding, he plays consistently well each week, and his defence was strong all game which created some turnovers for us.    

 Bull Sharks Football: 

We did not play anywhere near the standard of Bull Sharks rugby. Typically, each year there is a poor performance, and we can’t let it happen again.   

 The work to do: 

The non-negotiables of desire, grit and effort is what we are focusing on this week. 

 Trademark player: 

 Sam Howarth can hold his head high for his effort at No. 9.   

With Rico Gear  

 

 

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