By Ant Wingard @AntWingard
Photo: David Layden Photography
Throughout the Bond University QWAFL season, AFL Queensland will take a look at a select few players to watch in the upcoming weekend’s action.
Ahead of their inception into the QWAFL in 2018, Bond University bolstered their ranks by securing the services of one of the state’s most talented footballers in Lauren Bella.
The Bullsharks beat out the likes of University of Queensland, who Bella played two games for last season, for her services and ahead of her AFL Women’s draft eligibility this year.
Already, and despite playing just five games, Bella has established herself as one of the most dynamic and damaging ruckmen in the competition as the Bullsharks aim to qualify for finals in their first season at the top level.
Such is her influence that in just once in her five games for the club has she not been named among their best players.
Bella’s availability has been hampered slightly in 2018 as the Mackay product juggles her various other footballing commitments ahead of her potential switch to AFL Women’s level in a number of months.
She played in three of Bond University’s first four games this season, but has since missed two weeks through her commitments with the Gold Coast SUNS Winter Series team and the Queensland Under-18 representative team.
Fortunately, among the game which the 2017 Mackay Sportsperson of the Year Winner has been unavailable have coincided with the Bullsharks’ two mid-season byes, ensuring the team can name one of their best more often than not.
Bond University head coach, David Askar, said Bella offered a lot to the Bullsharks team this season.
“She’s a fantastic edition to our team. She gives us first use of the footy in the ruck. She’s an exciting talent,” Askar told aflq.com.au.
“It’s been terrific having the experience of Lauren an Ari(anna Clarke) in the team.”
“She’s a leader of women. She has a fantastic attitude and she works very hard she’s very coachable.”
As Bella enters her draft year and having earned interest from both Brisbane and Gold Coast – who enter the AFL Women’s competition in 2020, Askar offered insight into how Bella is tracking for her next step.
“Because she’s’ been in the various talent programs, it’s helped us out too. She does offer a lot for our younger players.”
“I have no doubt in my mind she’ll get drafted. She knows where she wants to get to go.
Bond University will be put to the test against the third placed Coolangatta Tweed at Corpsure Oval on June 30.