2024 Bond University QAFLW Season Preview – Bond University

By Hannah Davies

They may be the reigning premiers across the Bond University QAFLW Seniors and Reserves, but the Bond University Bull Sharks are refusing to rest on their laurels, knowing they’re now “the hunted”.

It was a dream season for Bond in 2023, taking home both trophies despite neither side finishing as minor premiers.

But it’s a feat that has left the side as the team everyone wants to beat – and a key out may well disrupt their perfect storyline of going back-to-back.

“We celebrated hard (after the double premiership), and rightly so, it was important we acknowledge just how unique it was,” second-year coach Andy Lovell said.

“But since then, we’ve really just parked it. Because we’ve had such a high turnover and we’ve got so many new fresh faces, we’ve reset our expectations and focused on our training and preparation.”

One out that may threaten those preparations is QAFLW Rising Star Ava Usher, who ruptured her ACL several weeks ago. 

The young talent, who is also a member of the SUNS Academy, was a pivotal part of their grand final squad last year and finished in the competition’s Team of the Year, alongside teammates Paris Lightfoot and Courtney Sexton.

While she won’t be easily replaced for the upcoming season, Lovell said the club had recruited 22 new faces, but the challenge will be around finding connections early in the season. Lovell has already heard how well opposition clubs had recruited in their own off seasons and knows the focus will need to go straight on his 2024 squad.

“It’s been great (having new players to the club), they’re all really high-quality players and they’ve all got a lot of experience,” he said. “We’ve added experience to the squad, which I think is important, because we were a really young squad last year.”

Bond’s experienced new signings include former SUNS player Tahlia Meyer and her sister Mikayla, a former Williamstown VFLW player, former Collingwood midfielder Imogen Evans, and ex Brisbane Lions defender Arianna Clarke.

The recruits will hopefully look to fill the space left by several players drafted to the AFLW after the 2023 season, including Kiara Bischa (SUNS), Sienna McMullen (SUNS) and Lily Tarlinton (Adelaide Crows).

With 16 Academy girls signed in 2024, the Bull Sharks’ challenge will be ensuring their regular squad can handle the heat of their opposition even when without their young stars – such was the problem in their 41-7 loss to Southport in Round 4, 2023.  

“It’s tricky (managing the Academy players), but we’re open and transparent from the beginning. The connection we have with our Academy girls is really strong, and fundamentally we see them as Bond players first who happen to be in the Academy. The girls understand that just because they’re in the Academy, it’s not a golden ticket to play senior football.

“We know the standard of the competition is just getting higher and higher every year. For us, we talk every week about how we’ve gone from the hunters to the hunted – and that carries a level of expectation, but we don’t want that to be a burden, we want that to be an inspiration.”

Captaining the club will once again be Paris Lightfoot, with Courtney Sexton as her vice-captain and Grace Moodie her deputy vice-captain.


Key recruits

Charlie Adamson – Gold Coast SUNS train-on player and inside mid.

Abbey Bevan – Bevan took last year off and returns to the club. Will play in the ruck.

Arianna Clarke – An original Bond player and student, Clarke is a former Brisbane Lions player who returns after a few years off the game. Will play medium forward.

Imogen Evans – Previous Bond player who was drafted by Collingwood in the AFLW. Evans will return for Bond in 2024 and play inside-mid and forward.

Maisy Evans – Evans is a Riewoldt Family AFL Excellence Scholarship recipient. She only recently turned 18 but is showing “enormous potential”. At 184cm she will play in the ruck

Hannah Garland – The winger comes across from the Nightcliff Tigers in the NTFLW.

Georgia Hamilton – A student at Bond, Hamilton played SANFLW with Sturt and will play half forward.

Mikayla Meyer – Former Williamstown VFLW player and the sister of Tahlia Meyer. Will play wing/half back.

Tahlia Meyer – Former Gold Coast SUNS wing/half forward.


Key Outs

Ava Usher – Inactive (ACL)

Kiara Bischa – Drafted to Gold Coast SUNS

Gabby Deller – moved interstate

Sienna McMullen – Drafted to Gold Coast SUNS

Lily Tarlinton – Drafted to Adelaide Crows


Player to watch: Charlie Adamson. The Queensland underage rep a “real standout for Bond”.


Prediction: With strong squads across their Senior and Reserves sides, Bond University will be a tough competitor once again in 2024. The pressure has risen; however, teams are already mentally preparing to take on the reigning Premiers when the time comes. Bond’s home and away season will rest on the shoulders of their experienced recruits – but come finals, with the Academy girls back, they may well be unbeatable once again. Expect back-to-back grand finals.

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