By Grace Knight
The perfect Saturday for Nathan Thomas would be to start and finish the Grand Final with a celebration.
If playing in a QFA grand final wasn’t special enough, Thomas will have the added joy of commemorating his 100th game in the premiership decider.
He becomes the 10th player in club history to reach the milestone.
“It’s worked out pretty well in that I’ll get to play my 100th game in the grand final,” he said.
“I try to look at premierships as just another game of footy, and being one of the senior members, my role on the weekend will be to keep the boys at ease and hopefully we can just stick to what’s been working for us and bring it home strong.”
Thomas arrived at The Canal in 2018 after ending his decorated career in rugby league with the Tweed Seagulls.
“Two of my best mates were already playing for Bond at the time,” he said.
“So, when I decided to pick up a new sport, I thought it would be a great club to give AFL a go.”
Despite having zero prior experience in Australian rules football, his first game of AFL was in the Bull Sharks seniors’ team.
“I found the transition pretty okay,” he said.
“Playing in the backline was pretty similar to rugby in the sense that everything is happening in front of you and I still got to tackle people.”
Although he initially joined Bond to play alongside his mates, Thomas is now among the last of his original mates to remain involved in the club.
"The only people who are still here from the year that I joined would be Wyatt Bacon, Ryan Cook, and Kane Peeters,” he said.
Whilst Thomas strove to achieve his goal of 100 games, he says it was the club’s culture that kept him coming back.
“I think Bond is a pretty unique club in that the people that we attract are second to none,” said Thomas.
“Everyone’s here for the right reasons, no one’s paid to play, and everyone’s just genuinely here to play footy and build close connections.”
Thomas says his journey with the Bull Sharks has been marked by milestones.
"To reach 100 games is massive," he admits.
"I think you try to tick off small goals as you go, and when I first started, it was to play senior footy.
"The next one was to win a premiership, which we did in 2019, then it was my 50 games and now my 100th.”