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Survival of the fittest

AFL team running

By Grace Knight

It will all come down to running power this weekend when the Bull Sharks travel to Fankhauser Reserve for the QFA grand finals.

With two women’s premierships already secured, the reserves and senior men’s sides hope to follow in their footsteps on Saturday in pursuit of a clean sweep for Bond AFL. 

The senior men and 2023 minor premiers will take on the Burleigh Bombers whilst the reserves men will face reserve minor premiers the Coolangatta Blues. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

Historically speaking…

The Bull Sharks’ senior men have strung together a seamless back end to their season, remaining undefeated since round 8. 

Burleigh experienced a shaky finals campaign, copping a thrashing from Carrara and surviving a very close call in their match against Coolangatta before turning the tables on Carrara in the preliminary final last weekend.

This weekend’s grand final will not only decide the QFA premiers, but also settle the season-long feud between Bond and Burleigh.

For the most part, the Bull Sharks and Bombers’ 2023 seasons have been evenly matched. 

The teams last met in round 12 where Bond took down Burleigh on their home turf 10.8 (68) to 7.10 (52). 

Back in round 7 it was the Bombers who emerged victorious 9.8 (62) to Bond’s 6.6 (42). 

The Bull Sharks men’s reserves, however, have been the underdogs throughout their finals campaign. 

After finishing the season third on the ladder, not many were betting on Bond to win both their qualifying finals let alone wind up as the first team with a grand final berth. 

During the regular season the Bull Sharks and the Blues met twice, each posting a win and a loss. 

Most recently, Bond beat Coolangatta in their second qualifying final 7.11 (53) to 6.6 (42). 

Who’s in, who’s out

Key back player Will King has been making a gradual return following his shoulder reconstruction that has kept him sidelined since round 12. 

 “He played reserves last week to see if he could get through the game and he went really well,” said Director of AFL Andy Lovell. 

“He made it through unscathed and played quite well so he’s a strong chance to take the recently opened spot in the senior’s backline this week.” 

That vacancy was created by the suspension of fullback Grant Trew who copped a three-week ban for a dangerous tackle in their match against Carrara. 

“Overall, the boys are pretty settled and they’re all training really well,” said Lovell. 

“Our last six weeks of footy have been really consistent so we’re in pretty good form and decent shape.” 

Where it will be won 

Fankhauser Reserve is known to be the most spacious oval on the Gold Coast. 

“To win the grand final on that ground will demand running power and fitness,” said Lovell. 

“For our senior men, Burleigh are pretty quick and a good running team so trying to shut down their overlap run is also going to be really important.” 

As always, winning centre bounces and clearances will be high on the Bull Sharks’ priority list. 

A message from Lovell

“I didn’t really know what to expect when I arrived at Bond this year,” he said. 

“I was really pleasantly surprised with just how engaged and fully committed both our men’s and women’s squads have been all year.

“Whilst it’s already such an achievement to have all four sides in their grand finals, it would be pretty amazing and an awesome reward for them to see four premierships this year. 

“Regardless of the result, I’m incredibly proud of them all.”

Match Day information 

Saturday, September 9
Fankhauser Reserve, Southport

11:00am men’s reserves
1:30pm men’s seniors 


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