Now in their third year of the competition, Bond University has found themselves in a grand final against a seasoned campaigner in Yeronga South Brisbane.
Jenna Vandyk has had a handy season for the Devils, landing in second place in the overall goal kicking with 31 majors. She looms as a threat to Bond’s chances with her ability to cause problems for the opposition in the Devils forward half.
“Jenna is one of our top players of the team. She certainly brings a lot of knowledge to our team and support to the girls. She directs traffic on the field and gives us the confidence in the forward,” Yeronga coach Nat Thomas said.
“She can bridge that gap between the midfield and forwards as well. She can be a real impact player so we need to make sure we are giving her every opportunity to help set us up for the day.”
Heading into their forward 50, Bond will be on the lookout for their season top scorer Gemma Churchill. Churchill had a ripper game against Aspley in the semi-finals, kicking two goals and her consistency – 23 goals for the season as well as featuring 10 times in the best players – shows just how dangerous she can be.
Bond University Coach David Askar said he expects nothing less from their key forward heading in the grand final.
“She is a typical footballer and she can a big difference to any game. I know you don’t rely on one player, but she’s one of our key forwards. If we deliver for her, I know she can finish it,” he said.
Yeronga coaches, former player Jess Mathews and current player Nat Thomas, have done an impressive job steering the Devils through the season with the high expectations that go along with being a reigning premiership team.
“This year we have made an effort to be first to the ball and we really want it. We focused on just playing each game and each time going out in numbers to support each other”Thomas said.
On the other side of the strategic, coaches box battle, is Bond University first year coach Davis Askar, who has already achieved plenty getting the team through to grand final day.
“We don’t really focus on that. Our focus was mainly on Yeronga and Aspley and they were motivation to us. We look at those what other teams were doing and what we had to do better, to get the this spot,’’ he said.
Yeronga will need to be more defensively aware when they meet this time, after being beaten convincingly by Bond in the first round of the finals, 15 to 61, as well as in round six when they lost 53 to 2. The grand final is a different type of game though and if Yeronga are only going to get one victory over Bond, Sunday is the time to do it.
“We understand that Bond are a really quick, agile team of players who play a really good game of football. So we if we can slow there run down a little we can hopefully slow them down, if not pit them,” said the coach.
“We have a game plan we want to play and develop so we will do the best we can against bond university. Hopefully we can have a spectacle out there on the day and who knows it could go either way.”
Aware that the result could go either, Bond University are making sure they don’t too complacent with their position.
“You’re never overconfident going in a grand final. Teams can win semi’s and then come grand finals can be beaten by the say team,” said Askar.
“I need to make sure my players don’t get overwhelmed with the different scenarios such as the balloons, the streamers and the crowds of people but focus on the game plan.”
Despite having the better of the Devils throughout the season, Bond still finished underneath their opponents on the ladder, coming in third on 10 wins, while Yeronga finished in second place with 12. Considering what’s at stake, Bond can’t afford to get complacent in any way shape or form.
By Zoe Nilsen