Toast Celebrating Local Gold Coast Footy History (1961-2010)

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Club Legend
May 27, 2013
AFL Club
Gold Coast
Whenever I see footy fans discussing the old days of the VFL / SANFL / WAFL they seem to look back on those days with such fondness/romanticism and it got me thinking that local Gold Coast footy history isn't really well known enough to give us a similar opportunity. So I thought it would be fun to start a thread where I (and others if they're keen) provide snapshots of memorable local GC footy moments that shaped us into the footy city we are today prior to us entering the AFL in 2011. So feel free to discuss the moments I cover in this thread or even share your own local footy memories. For the sake of this thread I will stick to top level local footy on the Gold Coast (i.e. Southport in the QAFL and the local GCAFL competition) and I will try to add as many ties to the Suns/AFL as I can. Let's start with a monumental moment in the Southport Sharks history when they claimed the QAFL premiership in their first year competing in the top level Brisbane-based competition.

The year is 1983. Southport have just paid $40,000 to be granted entry into the top level Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) after a highly successful stint as a foundation club in the Gold Coast Australian Football League which included 8 senior premierships in 22 years. Due to the Sherwood Magpies also entering the QAFL in 1983, Southport was forced to rebrand and became the Southport Sharks with a white jumper that included a black V on the front. In a move that would later become commonplace in local Gold Coast footy, Southport assembled most of the best talent available in the GCAFL by poaching Peter Guy (Coolangatta), Tim Tagliabue (Coolangatta), Peter Munro (Coolangatta), Gabe Nuspan (Coolangatta), Mick Hering (Surfers Paradise), Jason Cotter (Surfers Paradise), Mick Youngs (Labrador) and Dave Franklin (Labrador). They had also convinced three Victorian players to head up to the Gold Coast and they were Andrew Bos (Geelong), Stephen Wells (Geelong) and Craig Crowley (Dandenong). The most notable name from all the recruits being Stephen Wells who later became the recruiting manager for the Geelong Cats and played a big part in assembling the list that delivered AFL premierships in 2007, 2009 and 2011.

However, Southport's list was still very much homegrown and included mostly club juniors/players from their 1982 GCAFL season, 15 of which played in both the 1982 GCAFL grand final and the 1983 QAFL grand final. The team was coached by former Fitzroy player Norm Dare who had only taken over the year prior to the club's entry into the QAFL. Dare would later become the head coach of the Brisbane Bears in the AFL and also went on to coach the Queensland state team multiple times but was still relatively unknown as a coach in 1983. In their first game of the 1983 QAFL season, the Sharks shocked many by defeating the Western Districts 7.12 (54) to 5.12 (42) in front of a large crowd of more than 3000 at Owen Park. Southport would go on to amass a win-loss record of 12-6 in 1983 and qualify for their inaugural QAFL finals series. In their qualifying final, Southport would head up the M1 to face Sandgate and picked up a solid 30 point victory away from home to qualify for the major semi final against the might of the QAFL - Morningside. The Sharks would once again head up to Brisbane to face Morningside the following week and shocked everyone in Queensland footy with a 42 points victory at Windsor Park to qualify for their first ever QAFL grand final.

By winning the major semi final, Southport had earned themselves a week off in the lead up to the grand final where they would once again face the powerhouse Morningside Footy Club who were looking for revenge at Windsor Park. However, September 11 1983 would be Southport's day with a 13.12 (90) to 12.5 (77) victory over Morningside in the QAFL grand final. Footy people in Brisbane were shocked and could not believe a little regional team from the Gold Coast could come into their competition and dominant their best teams. Little did those Brisbane people know, this was just the start of Southport's dominance in the QAFL competition. Southport President Dr Alan Mackenzie (who was a part of the inaugural Suns' board and is a life member at our club) boldly stated "For too long. Brisbane people have denigrated Gold Coast football. Our win just shows how strong Coast footy is."

It's fair to say this was the season that really established the Gold Coast as a footy city.


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