By Ant Wingard
Bond University coach Shane Atkins is expecting a fierce contest in this weekend’s Bond University QAFLW Grand Final against Coorparoo, labelling the Kings a classy side.
Despite finishing the season atop the ladder and claiming the minor premiership, the Bull Sharks were happy to claim the underdog tag heading into Sunday’s decider against Coorparoo – a team that beat them by three-points just a handful of week’s ago.
“We were about development this year. We’re excited about the opportunity against some quality opposition,” Atkins told aflq.com.au.
“It has always for us been about getting some finals games into the girls this year.
“To get two in the senior and development, we’re really excited about how it has panned out.”
This season has been a meteoric rise for the Bull Sharks whose main objective heading into the season, as Atkins outlines, was merely to develop the players.
But as the wins continued to grow each week, so did their confidence and now, with the opportunity to cap it all off with a maiden QAFLW Premiership this weekend, the focus for the team has simply been about enjoying the journey.
And that is the sentiment the Bull Sharks are taking into Sunday’s game against Coorparoo who Atkins said despite the loss in Round 14, was actually quite pleasing.
“We were really happy with our game that day to be honest,” he said.
“We gave them a 21-point head start and they pipped us in the last minute. We were really excited when we came off.
“We thought that we could mix it with a really good side. They had a fair bit to play for that day too so we knew they would be up and about. To get pipped in the last minute we were actually pretty happy.”
Coorparoo coach Michael Hewitt sees things slightly differently heading into the game.
Maybe it’s the foresight that comes with having already qualified for the last two Grand Finals, or the hurt that comes with losing both of them.
But for Hewitt and the Kings, this weekend’s game has been the by-product of the team’s gradual build over the second half of the season and the definitive change in contrast to their previous appearances in the Grand Final.
“I think it’s great. We’ve had an up and down year with availability and having access to players so when it come to the fore that we would be able to play them, the scores have shown that and we’ve been building well,” Hewitt told aflq.com.au.
“It’s probably been a little bit different than other years where we were already up there.
“This time we’ve had to work hard to get there and we’ve busted out butt to get there and we’re there again.”
At the selection table, Bond University has made one change to their line-up, losing reliable defender Krystal Smith, who couldn’t get up after suffering a knock in the Bull Sharks’ Semi Final win over Yeronga.
Smith has been replaced by Under 18 Queensland Vice Captain Emmi-Lee Zanker Close.
For Coorparoo, rebounding defender Hayley Moore will also miss the clash after injuring her ankle in last week’s win over the Devils and has been replaced by Clementine Rousseau Forwood at half-back.