By Grace Knight
After prevailing in the preliminary final, the women’s reserves are now primed for the QAFLW decider against their cross-city rivals, the Southport Sharks.
As last year’s flag holders, the Bull Sharks will head into the match with high hopes for back-to-back premierships.
The highly anticipated match will take place at Yeronga South Brisbane Football Club on Sunday at 10:40am.
LAST TIME THEY MET
Both Bond and Southport have proven to be tough foes all season, with the Bull Sharks beating the Sharks in two of their three encounters.
Their last match up came in the first week of finals and saw Southport gain a 30-8 win to book their place in the grand final and earn a weekend off while Bond battled Coorparoo.
However, the Bull Sharks showed in round 14 they can pile on points against the Sharks, emerging as 63-25 victors.
The handful of reserves players who recently spent time helping the injury-depleted senior’s squad now have the chance to return to their original team.
While this leaves coach Beth McLaughlin with some tough decisions regarding the team list, she should feel confident knowing the Bull Sharks are loaded with a strong group of players as they head into the big game.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
It has been an incredible year for the reserves, they have held tightly to first place on the ladder all season.
Over the 16-round season (including two byes) they collected 11 wins, one draw and two losses to boast a commanding points percentage of 289.96.
The Bull Sharks’ season-long dominance should be a source of confidence as they head into the grand final knowing they are a force to be reckoned with, no matter the opposition.
After a full season of preparation, it all comes down to this final game. Beth McLaughlin has kept this week’s training light and enjoyable.
“Skills wise, there is not much more that we can really improve on at this point, so the only thing left is our morale and just making sure the players are really enjoying themselves,” she said.
“It’s not every season your team makes the grand final, so we’ve been making sure players soak up the experience.”
McLaughlin said players will use their nerves to their advantage.
“They were pretty shaken after the loss in the semi-final,” she reflected.
“Buy they were able to channel that fire into the preliminary. When it is all on the line, they will show up ready to prove anything is possible.”
IN THE OTHER GRADES
With his side out of the running, senior women’s coach Luke Mansbridge has turned cheerleader for the reserves, and his players continue to train with them and support their pursuit of a premiership.
Both the men’s seniors and reserves head into round 17 with home ground advantage as they host fierce rivals, Coolangatta.