Bond University Vice Chancellor Professor Tim Brailsford, recently retired Bond Rugby Club board member Bob Gordon and board president Dr Manny Pohl (AM). PICTURE: BRETT WALKER
By Pat McLeod
Gold Coast media icon Bob Gordon may have stepped away from the Bond Rugby Boardroom, but he has promised his beloved Bull Sharks Third Grade he will not miss a home game.
After six years as a board member Gordon this week announced that his tenure at the Premier Grade club had come to an end.
“I recently turned 80 and although I am now officially a tribal elder, I am under orders to attend every home game, which I will,” he said.
“This is a fantastic club. I am passionate about rugby and have enjoyed every minute of my time on the board. There are great things ahead for the Bull Sharks and I will look on with interest, especially the fortunes of Third Grade.”
As board president Dr Manny Pohl explained, although Gordon has played a major role in the club’s media and marketing direction, it was his insistence on the inclusion of a Bull Sharks lower grade team that will be his most significant legacy.
“When I came onto the board I was looking for a couple of influential people … people who not only had passion for rugby, but also got things done,” said Dr Pohl.
“At that stage Bob was on the Suns (AFL) board, but there was an announcement that he was retiring from that position. I went and had a coffee with him, asked him to join the board and he agreed.
“Bob certainly contributed to improving our connections with the media, etc, but he was always talking about club culture. He said that in his experience clubs are really successful when they have a great culture. And he is 100 per cent right.
“He said although it is important to have very talented first and second grade players, the key to great culture was to retain those players when they became older and were no longer playing really competitive rugby. It is then that they become the cornerstone of the club because they are the ones who are always at the games and the functions and helping out.
“And to achieve that, Bob told us, ‘You need a Third Grade side’.
“Well, at the time, we didn’t have the fields or resources, but Bob, and ably supported by ‘Jacko’ (fellow board member Terry Jackman), they kept harping, and eventually (in 2020) we entered a Third Grade side and it has been a fabulous success.
“They have won games, played really good rugby and we have this cornerstone of great guys and the culture of the club has come forward in leaps and bounds, not necessarily due just to Third Grade, but they have played a big part.”
As a parting gesture Gordon was presented with a plaque that has the inscription: ‘The Patron of 3rd Grade’.
Also, previously, in a touching tribute, at the completion of one of their home games, the Bull Sharks Third Grade team came across in front of the grandstand and spontaneously erupted into three cheers to the man who was responsible for their creation.
Gordon said he was departing the board at a time when Bond Rugby Club was surrounded by ‘blue sky opportunity’.
“The women’s program is extremely successful, including victory in this year’s national Aon Women’s Uni 7s Series, the men have just won the State sevens and four of the six Bond teams were in the 15-a-side finals in 2021,” he said.
“The on-field success is certainly happening, but I am also very happy with the culture that is growing within this club.”
Bond Director of Rugby Luca Liussi said Gordon’s continued presence at the club would be a plus.
“He is obviously still an influential person across the city, but he also is a rugby person,” said Liussi.
“He knows rugby on and off the field and this club has certainly benefitted from that knowledge.”