By Grace Knight
The Bull Sharks men’s reserves team will move one step closer to securing a maiden flag in the QFA Division 2 South competition if they overcome Carrara in the preliminary final.
Following their win over the Coolangatta Tweed Blues in the semi-final, the reserves will travel to Saints territory for their last chance to book a place in the grand final.
The game will take place at 11:45am on Saturday at Alan Nielsen Oval.
LAST TIME THEY MET
Carrara and the Bull Sharks faced-off just two weeks ago in the first round of finals, where the Saints gained the upper hand in the close match, 63-50.
Head coach Adam Pearson explained the Bull Sharks have struggled to overcome Carrara all season long.
“We’ve actually played Carrara three times this year and lost each time, but they have all been by very narrow margins,” he said.
“We’ve got really good belief at the moment. And with some returning players we’ve probably got the strongest side we’ve had all year.
“We know we can match it with them, we’ve just got to show up on the day.”
In round 18 the Bull Sharks came exceedingly close to taking down the Saints, only losing by three points.
So, will fourth time be the charm?
Their last match-up saw seven of Carrara’s senior players drop down to assist in their reserves campaign, however, with their senior team now playing in their own preliminary final, this won’t be an option for them.
With the senior Bull Sharks bowing out in their semi-final last weekend, the reserves will have the advantage of some additional players at their disposal.
Senior players who qualify for the reserves' player list include backline players Bradley Paech and Harrison Black who will be key to applying pressure to Carrara’s strong forward line.
Following a standout performance in the seniors' semi-final last weekend, half-forward Mitchell Dell will also be available to assist in the reserves campaign. Dell’s experience and tenacity around the ball will be a great advantage to the team.
WHERE IT WILL BE WON
Head coach Adam Pearson believes the Bull Sharks composure will be a key aspect in winning the match.
“The team who can stay calm under pressure is the team that will win,” he said.
“We’ve been working hard on staying level headed and not panicking when the game gets intense.”
Pearson said the Bull Sharks will aim to keep a light and focused approach throughout this week, ensuring his players are at their peak performance.
“I really want to make sure any injured players are okay, so Tuesday will be pretty light on, and Thursday will be more match stimulation,” he said.
“We’re still missing too many targets, so short, sharp ball work will be the focus of this week.”
IF WE WIN
A win will secure Bond a place in the decider next weekend against the Burleigh Bombers who won their semi-final against Carrara last week.
A loss will mean an abrupt close to the reserves' campaign, and place them third overall for the season.
IN THE OTHER GRADES
In a high intensity match against the Burleigh Bombers last weekend, the senior Bull Sharks suffered a heartbreaking loss leaving them out of premiership contention.
The semi-final finish placed the seniors fourth overall for the season, meaning all hope for a Bull Sharks' flag falls onto the reserves.