Picture: KPM Sports Images
By Holly Slattery
The Bull Sharks sent their finals-bound rivals a stern message during their triumph in muddy conditions over the ladder-leading Southport Sharks at Fankhauser Oval on Saturday.
The thrilling five-point victory flipped the script on last weekend’s result against the cross-city rivals just three weeks before the QAFLW preliminary finals begin.
HOW IT UNFOLDED:
Bond was fearless from the first bounce, charging ahead to claim the first two goals of the game.
The strength of the Bull Sharks attacking side was soon matched by its backline defence which limited Southport’s score to two behinds in the first quarter.
The women ripped open the margin in the second quarter to give themselves a handy 17-point buffer leading into the final half which proved critical to their success.
They desperately defended their early lead, scoring and then conceding just one minor goal before the final whistle was blown.
Back on board after a week off the clock, key players Teagan Tatlock and Courtney Sexton took the midfield by storm with a spectacular show of contested ball work, while Annie Muir demanded control of stoppages along the boundary.
Bond’s mission-critical defence was held down by Riewoldt AFL Excellence scholar Ruby Sargent-Wilson who played half-back flank in what was her seventh game for the club.
Jordann Hickey’s return to the field also guaranteed much-needed stability on the attacking side after she was previously sidelined by injury.
WHAT IT MEANS:
The Bull Sharks have climbed the QAFLW ranks after their show-stopping performance, jumping over Maroochydore to claim third spot on the ladder.
Southport and UQ remain atop the table with an equal 34 points, but Bond is on their tails just two points behind.
Two more rounds or the regular home and away season is all the women have left to make gains before they arrive in finals territory.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Head coach Luke Mansbridge was impressed with the women’s performance which had the entire coaching staff on edge all the way until the end.
“It was one of the best wins I’ve been involved in since I’ve been at Bond,” Mansbridge said.
“The girls were amazing all day despite being under the pump and terrible conditions.
“We changed how we played a little bit and the girls all jumped on board and were really receptive to all the changes so that’s really what got us the win.
He added that a victory over the ladder leaders puts the Bond side in good stead ahead of the final rounds.
“It is a very even competition so we needed to knock off one of the top sides to give ourselves a bit of a boost.
“Anyone could win it, so it’s really important that we finish as high as we can to be able to move forward and try and hold up that silverware.”
IN OTHER GAMES:
The women’s reserves doubled down on their position over Southport with an 18-point victory on unfamiliar grounds.
The triumph places them on top of the QAFLW reserves ladder with just three weeks remaining before finals.
The men's teams had a bye weekend ahead of this Saturday’s attack on the Burleigh Bombers at Bill Godfrey Oval.