Premier Rugby: Bond Stalwart Turner Confident Side Can Chase Elusive Finals Dream In 2020

By Finn Morton; Photo – QRU Media/Brendan Hertel

Bond University showed plenty of promise in 2019 but once again fell short of their elusive finals target.

Their first grade side are yet to qualify for finals under the Bond name, after the University took over from the Gold Coast Breakers in Queensland’s Premier Rugby competition in 2014.

After a few years of getting close, even finishing just 2-points from fourth in 2018, one of Bond’s stalwarts seems assured in saying that 2020 is the year that they finally break their duck.

162-cap Bond Hooker Nick Turner is eager for the season to start, and was confident in saying that the squad are right on track for the season opener against Souths in just over a month.

The 27-year-old feels that his squad have an advantage heading into the upcoming campaign, with the Gold Coasters able to truly learn from last seasons lessons with most of the squad returning.

“We’ve still got a pretty similar group so we’re still going to keep trying to play to our strengths. We’ve got one of the most skilful backlines probably in Australian rugby let alone Queensland rugby,” Turner suggested.

“We’re just trying to play the same sort of game plan; get go-forward ball and then let the backs do the talking.”

“It’s been really good; we’ve had really good numbers coming down. Some guys that have played for us in the previous years have come back, as well as a lot of young guys.

“For me, probably more my fitness and the strength in the gym more than anything. I’ve been down the gym with all the boys pretty much every single day trying to work on that and being physical.

“As I’m getting older, it gets a bit harder. The more weight I can move, the better I’ll be on the field for longer.”

Bond will be without 2019 captain Harry Nucifora who has moved to Sydney and will instead be lining up for Eastern Suburbs in the Shute Shield.

But Turner believes that some key additions to the squad for 2020 will comfortably fill the void, albeit a big one left by the Queensland Country scrum-half.

“We’ve always had a lack of composure. But the same sort of guys that have been there for the last few years in those same positions, are still here again.

“We’ve learnt from our lessons and it’s more of a feeling of belief in the squad.

“He [Harry Nucifora] is a big loss. We’re lucky that we’ve got a young guy like Spencer Jeans coming through though. He’ll be with the Australian Under 20s and Queensland Academy for the majority of the season, I’m not too sure. For him we hope he makes the 20s side.

“Other than Nucy leaving, we’ve still got more or less the same squad. The majority of the boys have turned around and come again.

“It’s pretty good that we’ve got the same squad and picked up another couple young guys. Even guys like Callum McDonald that played for us three or four years ago, that’s sort of popped up out of the woodwork as well. It’s looking pretty good.”

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, the former Club Captain also spoke passionately about his love for the club and his desire to qualify for finals.

Unlike other clubs in Queensland Premier Rugby, Bond represent a region that covers hundreds of kilometres, and Turner understands the impact that they can have if they were to be the side raising the Hospital Cup at seasons end.

“I think this is my tenth year at the club. I’ve made lifelong friends at the club, it’s basically like a second home for me.

“The head coach has actually coached me for a decade and the volunteer managers have been there just as long.

“It’d mean a lot to not only me but we’re the only team on the Gold Coast so we are representing the whole of the Gold Coast. It’d be absolutely unreal.

“It’d be a tick off the box just to get to finals but to actually go through and win the Premiership, it would be absolutely unbelievable.”