Bull Shark Connor Pritchard returns home from South Africa ahead of a mammoth clash with the GPS Gallopers.
By Jordan Hughes
The business end of the Queensland Premier Rugby season is fast approaching and the Bull Sharks are set for a mammoth clash with the GPS Gallopers.
Bond, who convincingly won their last start against Sunnybank 40-0, will head up to Yoku Road this weekend to take on the Gallopers full of confidence having won their last two on the trot.
Bond had last weekend off due to the competition bye and spent the time recouping and bonding as a squad as they build for a huge back half of the season.
LAST TIME THEY MET
It was round three at The Canal when Bond held on to 9 point victory, 23-14 following a match winning try from winger Joey Fittock.
Since then GPS, the 2021 grand finalists, have been in hot form winning their past 6 from 7 matches. They most recently defeated Sunnybank 41-24 and before that the East Tigers 26-21.
It is 3rd v 5th match up this weekend making it a must win for Bond University if they hope to regain a place in the top 4.
The Gallopers currently sit in 3rd place on 33 points with 8 wins while Bond are 5th with 6 wins and 31 points. A victory for Bond would push them back into a top 4 seeding however a loss could push the Bull Sharks down to 6th on ladder.
WHERE WILL IT BE WON
GPS possess a big, physical forward pack and Bond coach Grant Anderson has laid down the challenge to his men to muscle up against the Gallopers.
“They rely a lot on their tight 5 to lay the platform, if we can get parity within our front row and locks to get the ascendency, that will go a long way in getting the result,” said Anderson.
Anderson acknowledges the importance of this game in the makeup of the season but maintains the focus is all about the Bull Sharks.
“We are focusing on what we do well, we want to win our set piece ball and be really disciplined around the breakdown this week,” he said.
“They don’t play with much variation, so we want to put them on the deck early to stop their momentum, especially around their driving maul.”
The Bull Sharks understand the situation they are in and know how crucial it is to keep displaying consistent performances as finals approaches.
“The players are really self-aware, they know the importance but it’s just about focusing on the preparation each week and having clarity in our roles and then letting the performance do the talking”. Said Anderson
Connor Pritchard comes back into the side this week having returned from a trip to South Africa to visit family. Bond will also be bolstered by Fijian Drua outside back Tuidraki Samusamuvodre who has come into the Bull Sharks squad and will be available for selection this week.
Hayden Sergeant who made a successful return from a calf injury off the bench against Sunnybank has had another strong week of training and will put his hand up for selection in the starting 15.
John Eales Rugby Excellence Scholarship holder and new Melbourne Rebels recruit Alex Mafi is on track for a return to Bond University colours next week as he returns from a long spell on the sidelines.
AROUND THE CLUB
In other grades, the Bull Sharks’ third placed second grade side are set for a blockbuster match up against GPS who are sitting in 4th place. Both sides are level on 31 points each with Bond coming off a strong 27-5 win over Sunnybank.
Bond’s Colts 1 side also has the chance to lock down 3rd position on the ladder which will create some breathing room between them and the Easts Tigers who are 4th place.
Catch the first grade side kicking off at 3:05pm at Yoku Road with all the action live on Stan Sport.
MATCH DAY INFORMATION
Bulls Sharks v GPS at Ashgrove Sports Fields
12.10 Colts 1
1.30pm Second Grade
3.05pm First Grade
10.50am Colts 2
12.10 3rd Grade