By Grace Knight
The senior women’s Bull Sharks suffered an unfortunate 48-9 loss on Saturday against reigning premiers the University of Queensland in the QAFLW qualifying final.
With home ground advantage, the Lions took to the field with confidence as the Bull Sharks fought hard to stay in the game, displaying their determination down to the last second.
HOW IT UNFOLDED
The Bull Sharks managed one goal in the first quarter of the game before making some simple errors, allowing the Lions to capitalise on their mistakes.
The Lions ripped the game open in the second quarter, leaving the Bull Sharks struggling to pull the margin back.
Despite being three goals down at half-time, the Bull Sharks evened up the play with a strong midfield working hard to turn over contests.
Even with the footy consistently finding the Bull Sharks’ 50m line the team struggled to convert their efforts into points.
The Bull Sharks put up a bold fight against the 2021 premiership holders but a run of missed goals ultimately cost them the game.
The Bull Sharks backline worked tirelessly throughout the match in a bid to thwart the Lions’ scorning machine.
Adjusting well from her usual position at ruck, Jasmine Davidson took some critical marks and tackles in the centre halfback role which greatly assisted the Bull Shark’s campaign.
Reserves player Isla Champion took to the big stage with an impressive display of her handy ball work and ability to work well in an unfamiliar team.
WHAT IT MEANS
Despite notching the tough loss in the semi-final, the Bull Sharks will have the chance to redeem themselves in the preliminary final next week against the Southport Sharks.
With two of the Bull Sharks’ key players out with injuries, the weekend’s match gave the team the much-needed opportunity to adjust to their new positions. They now have an extra week to train and develop combinations to bring their best performance to next weekend’s game.
The Bull Sharks should feel confident heading into their next match up as they enjoyed success against Southport at the beginning of the month.
WHAT THEY SAID
Head coach Luke Mansbridge was impressed by his players’ efforts to stay in the game.
“Throughout the play it seemed like an even game. We just gave away a couple of easy ones early on and that put a bit of a dent in their confidence,” Mansbridge said.
“Despite this, they played really well and never gave up. It’s just unfortunate we couldn’t convert that into a larger score.”
He is now excited for next week’s match-up when he will have new reserves players in his arsenal.
“Some of the reserves players that we brought up this week really impressed me, so it’s good to know a bit more about them and how they can work into our repertoire,” he said.
Mansbridge said the team should remain confident throughout the week knowing they have put in the work all season and the result will take care of itself.
“Heading into the prelim we are definitely going to have to dust ourselves off and get our belief back to move forward, but we know we’re a good side, we’ve just got to stay positive during the week at training, and get back out there next weekend to go out all guns blazing.”
IN OTHER GAMES
The women’s reserves posted an unfortunate loss to the Southport Sharks, meaning they too will head into a knockout final next week.
The senior men’s team had a much-needed bye over the weekend to reset as they head into round 17 next weekend, holding on strong to their second place on the ladder.
The men’s reserves also had a bye after their convincing win last week as they prepare for the business end of the season.