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SUNS hold on for gripping QClash win

Gold Coast has hung on to win a gripping QClash by five points against Brisbane on Sunday night with some final minute defensive heroics nabbing them a third win of the season.

7:56pm  Apr 22, 2018

QClash clearance battle is key

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NEAFL: Match Preview, Round 3

The 24th edition of the NEAFL ‘QClash’ will be an entertaining way to close out Round 3 of the NEAFL, with this match having the potential to go either way.

11:19am  Apr 21, 2018

Women's Academy star wins Mackay Sportsperson of the Year

Josh Cheadle  January 9, 2018 3:20 PM

Image from Daily Mercury - Gold Coast Suns

Image from Daily Mercury

Training with them week in, week out - it just feels kind of like family so to be able to train with them and then go away and keep getting better, I’ve had nothing but great experiences there.

Gold Coast SUNS Talent Academy player Lauren Bella has topped off a stellar 2017 campaign by being named Mackay’s Sportsperson of the Year over some strong competition.

It was a tight race at the top, with Bella recording 32% of the public vote to claim victory and withstand a late surge from exciting cricketer Mitchell English (31% of the vote).

Bella was also able to hold off Kookaburras hockey representative Matthew Swann (10%) and rugby league stars Dane Gagai (8%) and Renae Kunst (6%).

“I was just really excited because I was up against some other very talented athletes and to be able to come out on top and have support from people I don’t know, I was ecstatic,” Bella said.

It’s been a whirlwind 12 months for the 17-year-old, who was also named MVP playing in the ruck for Queensland in the Under 18 Women’s Championships.

She was one of 10 Queenslanders awarded All Australian honours during their campaign, named on the interchange bench.

Making her achievements even more outstanding is the fact Bella is also a representative in the Under 19 Queensland netball squad.

She has become an expert at juggling the competing interests of two elite sports, all while managing to maintain her grades throughout Year 12 at school.

“Being able to keep up with the two sports has been really challenging throughout the year and you have to try to keep them as equal as possible,” Bella said.

“I probably would say I did more AFL this year than netball, but I’m still hoping to be a part of both of them as much as I can.”

Up in Mackay, she trains with the SUNS Academy where the boys are mixed in with the girls.

But Bella wouldn’t have it any other way.

It means she competes with her brother on a regular basis, who is also in the SUNS Academy.

“We’ve always been very competitive in that sense so that’s definitely pushed me to get better in a way,” she said.

“Training with them week in, week out - it just feels kind of like family so to be able to train with them and then go away and keep getting better, I’ve had nothing but great experiences there.”

Having completed Year 12, Bella has taken a scholarship studying sports management at Bond University, where she will link up with the Bond Uni Bullsharks QWAFL team in 2018 while she continues to train with the GC SUNS Academy. 

She has previous experience in the QWAFL with the University of Queensland, but will be targeting an extended run with her new club to build form before setting her sights on the AFLW Draft at the end of the year.

“It would just be a dream come true in a way,” Bella said.

“I’ve been playing AFL since I was little and I never really thought it would be a thing but I’ve become interested in it more and more and now there’s a pathway there, I would absolutely love to be a part of it.

“It’s everything that I want in a way.”

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