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Third time lucky

James Fitchett with premiership flag
Coach James Fitchett celebrates with Ryan Cook and Tom Sanders.

By Grace Knight 

The Bull Sharks reserves have broken through for their maiden premiership and in the process filled the last empty column on the club’s honour board.

Saturday was the Bull Sharks’ third consecutive QFA Div 2 reserves Grand Final and after two years of heartbreak they lifted the premiership cup with a seven-point victory over minor premiers Coolangatta.

The men’s reserves had been the only side not to win a flag in the club’s 13-year history and after singing the club song at Fankhauser reserve on Saturday they joined the QAFLW seniors and reserves as 2023 premiers. 

Despite Bond dominating the first three quarters, Coolangatta’s final quarter retaliation unfolded into a heart-pounding finish that brought the final score to 7.5 (47) to Coolangatta’s 5.10 (40).

Andy Lovell and Andrew Dillon
Andy Lovell with incoming AFL CEO Andrew Dillon

How it unfolded 

From the outset both sides came out firing with the Blues taking the first shot at goals, lucky for Bond it resulted in behind. 

Bond’s defence consistently disrupted the Blues’ scoring opportunities but poor connections and decision-making in the midfield cost Bond the advantage.

Kane Peeters finally broke Bond’s deadlock, kicking the game’s first goal at the 13-minute mark. 

Bond’s territorial dominance made it a challenge for Cooly to move the ball anywhere outside of Bond’s offensive half and as the quarter time siren blew the scoreboard read 3.2 (20) to Coolangatta’s 0.1 (1). 

The second quarter began similarly with Cooly managing the first score, however only another behind. 

Bond eventually kicked their fourth goal at the 17-minute mark, while Cooly remained goalless at halftime, trailing 0.4 (4) to Bond’s 5.5 (35). 

The third quarter unfolded to be a low scoring endeavour from both sides. 

Coolangatta eventually managed to kick their first goal of the game, which came 17-minutes into the quarter. 

Appearing to have found their rhythm, the Blues kicked another shortly after.

Tensions boiled over resulting in red cards for Josh Clarke and another Cooly player after a brawl. 

As the three-quarter time siren blew the score stood at Bond 7.5 (47) to Coolangatta’s 2.6 (18). 

The game’s narrative shifted drastically in the final quarter with Coolangatta dominating possession in their 50-metre line. 

But Coolangatta’s inaccurate kicking let them down with four behinds before their first goal. 

The Bull Sharks appeared to struggle with energy while Cooly continued banking goals, bringing them within seven points. 

But Bond managed to run out the clock with Bond on 7.5 (47) to Coolangatta’s 5.10 (40) at full time. 

A combined effort 

Abe Forward

After a valiant performance, Bond’s Adam (Abe) Forward earned the QFA’s Best on Ground award. 

When asked to provide his additional best players picks, head coach James Fitchett could only express his pride in the team’s collective effort. 

"The whole team showed up today and everyone played their role," Fitchett said.

"Abe has the medal, but I think that's shared with every other neck that went out there today."

Setting the bar high 

Fitchett has set a high bar in his first year coaching an AFL team. 

"I'd like to say I'm the rookie of the year," he quipped.

"But when you've got the likes of ex-AFL players around you like Shaun Hart, Andy Lovell and Max Kennedy, these guys make the job so much easier.''


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