In the absence of viable local opposition Southport AFC organised matches against Brisbane clubs to continue the rapid development of the code. Junior and school football was launched and Southport played a key role in its early development.

Last year, Australian Football swept to prominence as one of the most popular sports on the Gold Coast within weeks of the first club being formed. Officials of the clubs are confident that this year additional players will make it possible for the Coast to enter teams in open competition with Brisbane clubs.

(Gold Coast Adviser, March 3, 1962, p.35.)

1962 saw the Southport AFC take further steps forward whilst senior football on the Gold Coast stagnated, with the Magpies struggling to find consistent local opposition. A Coolangatta club started the season but faltered to be replaced by Currumbin AFC later in the year. The administrators of the Southport club displayed great initiative in seeking matches against a variety of opponents from Brisbane. Fixtures were organised against Morningside, Mayne, University and Enoggera. Several Queensland Australian National Football League (QANFL) clubs were also coaxed to the Coast to play promotional matches. A Sandgate versus Western Districts clash in June created plenty of local interest as did end of season representative matches against teams from Wilston-Grange.

A QANFL directive to the Ipswich club to form their own league left the Gold Coast stranded. The ill fortune of the largely Salk Oval based southern clubs (with three names – Centrals, Coolangatta, Currumbin in the space of 10 months) stretched the resourcefulness of the Southport administrators.  Early efforts to start a senior Surfers Paradise team were to also falter. Starting a football club/competition was no easy thing but the Southport Magpies pushed on. The early administrative strength of the club was evident in the organisation of twelve matches for the season.

Not lacking in confidence, one of the first encounters was arranged with QANFL club Morningside who were pressing for finals at that stage. A narrow loss indicated how far the club had come in twelve short months (Click here to read match report). This match was also notable for a stunning debut by club junior Dave Burns who burst into the game late after being given his chance as 20th man. The club was to soon realise however, that more work was to be done when given a football lesson by the then most powerful club inQueensland, Mayne (Click here to read match report). A good indication of where the club stood came with two competitive clashes (a home win and an away loss) with eventual QANFL reserve grade premiers University.

One of the club’s first quality recruits arrived early in the season. Former Williamstown (VFA) star Harold Peacock came to Southport after spending time coaching Heywood in Victoria country. Peacock and Ruckman/Tall Forward Peter Dalgrin set early goal kicking records, both booting 9 goals a piece in separate games (Click here to read more).

A highlight of the season was a representative encounter against the newly formed Ipswich and West Moreton League played at the Gabba. The match was a curtain raiser to a Coorparoo versus Morningside home and away fixture and attracted an amazing 5000 fans. The Gold Coast side was dominated by Southport representation. It was a good win for the Coast with most of the best players coming from the Magpies (Click here to read match report). Gold Coast 14.20.104 (Best: Peacock, Brown, Manuel, Dowling, McDonald, Mathers) defeated Ipswich 7.12.54.

Whilst the Southport senior team performed admirably, the code at a senior level did not have a viable competition in 1962. Gold Coast junior and school football on the other hand, had stellar inaugural seasons. In a stunning beginning, the code had 10 schools and 17 teams, playing in northern and southern divisions in four separate competitions. Australian Football was the winter sport of Gold Coast primary schools. Southport State School, coached by Southport AFC President Bill Woods, defeated Labrador StateSchool in the Grand Final and was presented with the trophy by Mayor Alderman E.O. Harley. It was the first time junior football had been played in Gold Coast schools since 1907-9 when The Southport School played intra school games and annual return matches against Brisbane juniors.

The school’s competition was established by a few dedicated teachers and the voluntary work of people like Roly Daniels and Max Mathers on the southern end of the Coast and John McCann, Bill Woods and many others from the Southport AFC. Peter Dalgrin, Jim Carmichael and Bob Stringer were all club members who also joined the first Gold Coast Australian Football Umpires Association (GCAFUA), to assist with the officiating of the burgeoning number of junior matches being played.

Australian National Football Council (ANFC) Secretary and subsequent member of the AFL Queensland Hall of Fame, Bruce Andrew, was proactive in junior development in Queensland through the 1950s and 1960s. Through the QANFL, the ANFC donated all the playing strips to the 17 school teams participating. So with support from the top and much hard work by locals, Australian Football had gained a real march on competing codes in 1962.

These football pioneers were to set Australian Football up with their vision and drive to develop the code in schools. In 1962 however, not only did they establish school football, they launched the first official Gold Coast junior competition. The initial competition had four clubs, Southport, Surfers Paradise, Coolangatta and Burleigh playing in an under 17 grade. Frank Nolan and Des Hall coachedSouthport. Dave Burns and Des Napper, both future senior Best and Fairest winners, played in the first Gold Coast junior Grand Final in which Surfers Paradise 5.8.38 defeated Southport 2.7.19.  Other players who went on to play senior football for the Magpies from this team were Paul Nolan, Peter Boadle and Alan Watkins. Other Southport juniors, Chris Manuel (Labrador) and the Trumbullbrothers (Surfers Paradise) also played senior football on the Coast. The junior competition of 1962 was not only a highlight for the code but it captured the sporting interest of the Gold Coast. Press reports of Hockey, Rugby League and senior Australian Football were often overshadowed by the latest developments in junior and school football. Brisbane junior clubs regularly travelled to the Coast.

The South Coast Bulletin at the conclusion of the season published their awards and had the following to say about top vote getter Bob Manuel.

Southport’s top player, Bob Manuel, is a fast clever rover who never fails to demoralise his opponents with his speedy maneuvering on the field, swift passes and safe marking. Very rarely is Bob out of form and this season he has played exceptional football.

South Coast Bulletin Voting for 1962

  1. Manuel 9
  2. Dalgrin 6
  3. Dowling 6
  4. Russell 5
  5. McDonald 5
  6. Brown 4
  7. Peacock 4

(South Coast Bulletin September 19, 1962, p.43.)

1962 Match Results

Date  Venue Home Away Southport Goal Kickers and Best Players
Sunday 13 May Labrador Sports Ground Southport 16.21.117 Enogerra 5.10.40 (Best: Manuel, McDonald, I Radcliffe, Bolton, Brown, Turner, Chorley, R Best)
(Manuel 5, R Best 4, McDolald 3, Brown 3, Hall)
Sunday 20 May Salk Oval Coolangatta 1.2.8 Southport 6.7.43 (Best: Sherring, McDonald, Hall, Turner, Brown, Radcliffe)
Saturday 2 June Labrador  Sports Ground Southport 8.8.56 Morningside 8.12.60 (Best: Burns, Thomas, Manuel, Grey, Dowling, McMahon, Russell)
Sunday 17 June Labrador  Sports Ground Southport 4.7.31 Mayne 17.7.109 (Best: Peacock, Manuel, Dowling, Brown)
(Peacock 4)
Sunday 24 June Labrador  Sports Ground Southport 15.17.107 University 10.10.70 (Best: Peacock, Turner, Sherring)
Sunday 1 July Labrador  Sports Ground Southport 16.17.113 Enoggera 10.10.70 (Best: Russell)
(Brown 2, Dalgrin, Dowling, Peacock)
Sunday 15 July University University 9.14.68 Southport 5.9.39 (Best: Manuel, Dowling, Russell, C. Trumbull)
(Dalgrin 9, Peacock 4,  Brown 2, Vella 2, Manuel , Russell)
Sunday 22 July Enoggera Oval Enogerra 3.14.32 Southport 19.19.133 (Best: Peacock, Dalgrin, Vella, Dowling, Russell, McDonald)
Sunday 29 July Salk Oval Currumbin 2.9.21 Southport 18.16.124 (Peacock 9, Vella 3, Sherring 2, Dowling 2, Manuel, Dalgrin)
Sunday 26 August Labrador  Sports Ground Southport 9.18.72 Currumbin 2.7.19 (Best: C.Trumbull, Thomas, I.Radcliff, G.Radcliff, Kruse)
(Brown 3, Sherring, Peacock, Manuel, C.Trumbull, G. Radcliffe, Dalgrin)