QLD Premier Rugby Round 11: UQ Host Bond in a Battle for Survival
By Finn Morton; Photo – Brendan Hertel/QRU Media
The race for the top four will take another twist this weekend as seventh-placed UQ host sixth-placed Bond in what’s almost a do or die clash.
Bond currently sit seven competition points behind Wests in fourth, while UQ sit ten points back. A loss for either side would almost bring an end to their final’s chances with only six games to play after round eleven.
Never before has sixth versus seventh been so exciting.
Coming into the 2019 season, UQ were among the favourites for Hospital Cup success.
But a run of three defeats from three games in rounds seven through to ten (had a bye week) has seen the Students lose control over their top four aspirations.
Head coach Mick Heenan said that he was “disappointed” with his sides recent run of form, including last weekend’s 27-17 loss away to Easts.
“[I’m] Very disappointed with our performance against Easts. Once again a lot of learning opportunities for us,” claimed Heenan.
“We are so far away from playing anything like the quality needed to compete in finals that we aren’t even thinking about it. We just want to play some Rugby that we can be proud of and we haven’t done that for a few weeks now.
“We thought we would struggle if we got any injuries given our depth isn’t what it has been. That has proved to be the case.”
While finals may not be a motivation now, UQ will certainly be focused on the upcoming fixture against Bond.
To finish round eleven with a victory, Heenan suggested that his side had to stop “giving up points too easily” while containing Bond.
He acknowledged that Bond are a strong side who consistently perform across the park.
“[Bond are] Good defensively, [they have] big ball runners, [a] good kicking game and good set piece.
“They have most bases covered.”
UQ will also be looking to reverse the 32-14 loss from Round two.
Team List: Samuel Mellor, Thomas Mellor, Kris Nielsen, Patrick Morrey, Benjamin Paxton-Hall, Fergus Lillicrap, Gustav de Jager, Sam Wallis, Jacobus Van Eeden, James Dalgleish, Sam Edwards, Tareta Junior Siakisini, Kalala Meni, Clifton Setu, Alex Horan.
Despite sitting sixth on the ladder with only three wins from nine games, don’t let Bond’s record fool you: they are a quality side.
Bond have been competitive in almost every game this season, securing a competition-high four-losing bonus points through nine games.
While this might not seem as boastful news at first, what it does show is that Bond are a resilient side who could compete with the competition leaders should they make finals.
But standing in their way is a tough month of Premier Grade Rugby starting with a trip to St Lucia.
New Bond head coach Grand Anderson is “happy” with his sides form this season, but understands that every game is vital as they look to make an unlikely finals run.
“[I’m] Really happy with the effort of the players. We created a lot of opportunities to score. Our defence was very good and we played some great Rugby. We are looking to continue to pressure teams with our attack and take our opportunities,” said Anderson when reflecting on last weekends close loss to Brothers.
“Every game is important in this competition and any team can beat anyone. We are taking each game as it comes.
“We believe we are good enough to play finals and want to win each game we play.
“We have had some really close losses [this season] and I have been happy with how the players have reacted under the circumstances.”
Anderson is fully aware of the threat that UQ pose, describing them as a “very good team.”
He highlighted areas of UQs game that will need to be contained for the Gold Coasters to leave Brisbane with a victory.
“They play positive Rugby and defend with a lot of line speed.
“We need to control possession when we have the ball and build pressure.”
Team list: TBC
Bond take on UQ at St Lucia from 3:20 pm on Saturday.