Young Bullshark in top job

Bond University President Edward Burrows-Cheng is proving that age is no barrier when it comes to leadership.

The 19-year-old took over the presidency reigns in December last year, and his record so far this year speaks for itself.

The men’s team, despite moving up a grade following last year’s premiership success, remain undefeated in 2015, and this weekend, Bond will debut a women’s team in the QWAFA.  

At just 18 years old, Burrows-Cheng packed up his things from his Tasmanian home, said goodbye the to family, and headed up to Queensland to study business law at Bond Uni.

He has been involved in football for as long as he can remember, so was pretty quick to link up with the University’s AFL team as soon as he arrived.

One year later, he took over the presidency role vacated by Gidian Ptasnik, who laid the foundation of the club, especially the women’s program.

But what makes someone so young accept a position of such responsibility? It’s pretty simple really. He didn’t do it for himself; he did it for the group.

“I love the boys that are in the club and I can see how important footy is for so many of those guys, not only as a sport but a break from uni,” Burrows-Cheng said.

“Obviously the presidency is such an import role in managing all of that and allowing all those people to have a break so I really wanted to provide that for a lot of those guys, and girls now as well.”

It’s not a job for him, not another line on the resume; it’s done for the love of the game.

“It’s more of a passion than what I’m trying to get into down the track, I’ve loved footy my entire life,” he said

It hasn’t all been sunshine and flowers though, there have been moments that have tested him.

“Following the first game of the season, the day after we had an exam so that was a bit of a challenge,” Burrows-Cheng said.

 “Managing my time, with my studies having to be number one but also having so many people relying on you for footy, that was the biggest challenge.”

One of the big things happening around Bond is the debut of their women’s team this weekend, something the whole club is proud of.

“We had been aiming towards what we had achieved so far, it’s been something the club has wanted to do for a long time but haven’t been able to get up and running,” he said.

“It has been achieved by the hard work of a lot of people, and with the fantastic help of coach Sam Murphy.

“All of the girls that have come onto the executive, so we have a mixed executive for the first time, its been such a big stepping stone in terms of moving forward.”

His time at Bond may be limited due to his degree, but he holds high aspirations as to where the club is headed.  

“I would love to see the club go from strength to strength in the men’s and get the women to preform really well on the field as they have been doing so far,” Burrows-Cheng said.

“In terms of off field we have got several other initiatives that we are and want to implement over that time, we want to get an alumni grant system for the club so there is more resources; that would be great to see in the future.

He might be young, but Burrows-Cheng is leading from the front beautifully, as Bond Uni go from strength to strength on and off the field.

By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles

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