Southport Australian Football Club
|Full name||Southport Australian Rules Football Club|
|Ground(s)||Fankhauser Reserve (capacity: 8000)|
|Official website||Official Southport Sharks site|
Southport is perhaps the most successful ever Queensland based Aussie Rules club with a total of 13 premierships in only 26 years and have made the finals each season.
The club has been involved in Australian Football League license bids since 1996. To date none of these bids have been granted, however the AFL began taking interest in 2006 with pushes to merge Southport with a Melbourne-based AFL club.
It has produced quality players for the AFL the likes of Marcus Ashcroft, Kurt Tippett, Matthew Kennedy, Steven Lawrence, Andrew Raines, Brad Moran, Daniel Merrett and Nick Riewoldt, whilst it has attracted high profile AFL players at the end of their careers, including Gary Dempsey, Warwick Capper and Paul Dimattina.
- 1 History
- 2 Rivalries
- 3 Premierships (21)
- 4 Grogan Medallists
- 5 QAFL Top Goalkickers
- 6 Club Jumper
- 7 AFL Drafted Players
- 8 External links
Formation and early years (1961–1982)
On 22 May 1961, the Southport Australian Football Club was formed and six days later the first training session was held at Labrador Sports Oval. It was revealed on 7 June 1961 that the club would be known on as the Southport Magpies and would wear a black and white vertical striped jumper similar to the Collingwood Football Club. In front of 1000 spectators Southport played their first ever game against Centrals Football Club on 25 June 1961. Southport came out victorious in their first outing 8.10.58 to Central's 6.11.47. They would then go on to win the first ever Gold Coast Australian Football League premiership with a 13-point victory over Ipswich on 25 September 1961.
With the expansion of the Gold Coast Australian Football League starting in 1962, Southport moved their home ground to Owen Park. Southport won back-to-back premierships in the first two years of the Gold Coast Australian Football League, defeating Currumbin by 53 points to win their second premiership. Following a series of local premierships, the club applied for entry into the Queensland Australian Football League in July 1981. Twelve months later, the Queensland Australian Football League officially accepted Southport's entry application for the 1983 season. In their last game as part of the Gold Coast Football League, the Southport Magpies fell in the Grand Final to Coolangatta by 28 points. The disappointment of the Grand Final loss was short lived as the rebranding from the Southport Magpies to the Southport Sharks began. The strip was changed to a black V on a white background to avoid an identity conflict with the Sherwood Magpies, who later became the Western Magpies. The decision as to which club would retain the "Magpies" moniker was made by the toss of a coin.
New competition and dominance (1983–1999)
Upon entrance into the Queensland Australian Football League, the newly formed Southport Sharks were given little chance of success against the predominantly Brisbane based competition. In their first game of the 1983 season the Sharks walked away winners with a victory over the Western Districts. They would compile a 12-6 win loss record during the home and away season. The Sharks going undefeated through the 1983 finals series and would win the Grand Final by 13 points over Morningside. The Sharks would continue prove themselves through the 80s with another three premierships added to their trophy cabinet as well as two runners-up. Early in 1989 the Sharks moved their headquarters to their current ground Fankhauser Reserve.
The club continued their dominance with an unbeaten season in 1990 but the club's financial woes were a big issue following a Grand Final loss in 1991. The club almost abandoned the QAFL late in 1991 to re-enter the Gold Coast Football Club but Queensland's introduction of poker machines would secure the financial future of the Sharks. By 1995 the Sharks had reached 20,000 members began to lead the charge for a second Queensland team entering the Australian Football League. In 1996, the Sharks made their first bid to the AFL for inclusion in the national league, which was rejected by the AFL in favour of the Port Adelaide Football Club's elevation from the SANFL. After which, the club continued to lobby for a licence.
Following the AFL's rejection of the Sharks into the national league, the Sharks would set out to prove just how good they really were. The team would win three premierships in a row in 1997, 1998 and 1999 to finish off the millennium with success. In 1999 the Sharks were able to poach future St Kilda Saints star Nick Riewoldt from their cross town rivals Broadbeach Cats, although Riewoldt would not compete for the Sharks senior side until 2000.
New Millennium and More Dominance (2000-2010)
The Sharks would enter the 2000 season as the raging favourites to take out a fourth consecutive premiership. Soon to be number 1 AFL draft pick Nick Riewoldt would play a huge role in their Grand Final victory over the Northern Eagles. Riewoldt would be kept virtually touchless in the first half when matching up against future Brisbane Lions player Jamie Charman. Riewoldt would be moved to ruck and would go on to kick two goals in the Sharks Grand Final victory. The four consecutive premierships would be Southport's last taste of success for five years as the club entered a rebuilding phase. Former AFL player Paul Dimattina pulled on the Sharks guernsey in 2005 and would lead the team to their first premiership in five years. The Sharks would continue their success with another three Grand Finals between 2006-2008 in which the Sharks would come away with two more premierships. In November 2010 it was announced the Sharks would be joining the newly formed North East Australian Football League which included four AFL reserves sides and local teams spread throughout Canberra, New South Wales, Northern Territory and Queensland.
Entry into the NEAFL (2011)
The Sharks put together a 9–9 win loss record in the 2011 NEAFL season but missed the finals series by percentage, their first non-finals season ever. The Sharks finished the 2012 NEAFL season with a 14–4 win loss record and were placed third on the ladder. In the qualifying final, the Sharks fell to the Brisbane Lions reserves team but recorded their first NEAFL finals victory over Redland the following week. The Sharks faced the Northern Territory Thunder in the preliminary finals but lost by 37 points.
The Sharks managed to pull off some big signings in the 2012 off-season, the biggest being recently delisted Gold Coast Suns player Andrew McQualter. The signings would prove a masterstroke as Southport began the season with an undefeated five-match winning streak. The Sharks also qualified for the 2013 Foxtel Cup due to their performance in 2012. In the first round of the Foxtel Cup, the Sharks defeated Tasmanian team Burnie Dockers by 28 points at Metricon Stadium.
The most intense rivalry in local Queensland football exists between the neighbouring clubs in the form of the Sharks and the Broadbeach Cats and stretches back to their first meeting in 1971. Matches between the two teams generally result in a larger audience and a heated contest on the field. As of the completion of the 2013 NEAFL season, the win-loss record between the two clubs stands at 70-10 in favour of the Sharks. The Cats were removed from the North East Australian Football League at the conclusion of the 2013 season which has resulted in the rivalry not continuing at the senior level.
- Peter Guy – 1983
- Zane Taylor – 1985
- Jason Cotter – 1990/1993
- David Crutchfield – 1992
- Chris O'Sullivan – 1992
- David Bain – 1995/1999
- Jeff Brennan – 1997
- David Round – 2002
- Danny Wise - 2010
- Matthew Payne - 2011
QAFL Top Goalkickers
- R. McKay (85) – 1998
- R. McKay (66) – 1999
- R. McKay (79) – 2000
- B. McEntee (119) – 2004
- B. McEntee (84) – 2005
- B. McEntee (100) – 2007
- B. McEntee (66) – 2008
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AFL Drafted Players