Runaway Bay half Alex Bishop is all aboard the ‘Bay Train’ this season and hoping to prove himself in the big dance when he runs out onto Cbus Super Stadium for this year’s QTOP Cup grand final.
This Saturday’s decider will be Bishop’s first taste of Rugby League Gold Coast's biggest day of the year and will be a welcomed grand final experience after narrowly missing out on selection for the Sunshine Coast Falcon’s Intrust Super Cup quest against Papua New Guinea Hunters in 2017, despite playing 22 games for the club that year.
Initially named to line up in the clash at Suncorp Stadium and having been the face of the Falcons in all of the marketing in the lead-up, Bishop heartbreakingly made way for Jahrome Hughes, who returned from his Melbourne Storm duties.
In a twist of fate, the man who actually took Bishop’s spot on the bench in that decider was fellow Seagull Guy Hamilton, who will be running out alongside him in this Saturday’s decider.
Bishop said his friendship with his Souths Logan Magpies team-mate remained strong despite having to watch from sidelines and with both of their dads winning titles with the club, he hoped they could create their own piece of history.
“We are good mates and were prior to that [2017 grand final] happening, so the way it all eventuated is history now anyway,” Bishop said.
“We’ve been playing at Souths Logan together and are just keen to get out there and rip in and win one together.”
When this year’s Intrust Super Cup was cancelled, Bishop looked set for a long stint on the sidelines, only for some convincing from his Magpies team-mates in Hamilton, Harrison Muller and Luke Burton that convinced him to come join the ‘Bay Train’.
“I was planning on just having the year off to get the body right," the Seagulls half said.
"It was a bit sore from last season but Guy, Harrison and Luke were already down at Runaway Bay and sort of got me down there and encouraged me to play, so I jumped on the Bay Train.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here, we’re going to training and having a laugh and it’s been good to play with some mates.
“While it’s a really strong competition, it’s a change from the intense pressure of the Intrust Super Cup comp, so it’s been a really enjoyable experience.”
Bishop said he was excited to run out onto the field in the stadium and hoped his team could go all the way to cap off a memorable season.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity as I have never played at Cbus, so it’ll be great to get out there," Bishop said.
“There’s a strong competition here on the Coast with some good players at good clubs and I think the clash [against Burleigh] is going to be really tough.”
Despite coming into the game undefeated this season, Bishop said his team needed to come prepared for an ambush by the defending premiers.
“We are undefeated and the favourites so I daresay they’ll come out firing with nothing to lose,” Bishop said.
“We got them early on in the season after beating them at home, but they’ve picked up a few handy players so we need to be ready.”
The QTOP Cup grand final between Runaway Bay and Burleigh kicks off at 5.30pm at Cbus Super Stadium.
*Main image courtesy of KPM Sport Images