An undefeated premiership underlined a year of absolute dominance. Southport’s Terry Doyle was the first GCAFL player to kick 100 goals in a season.

Southport AFC achieved the rare feat of an undefeated premiership in absolutely dominant style in 1966. The on field success was matched by a consolidation of the club’s administration as it began to put down firm roots in the community.  A large committee, headed by Councilor Nev Magin, ensured that the Magpies were the leaders on and off the field. The Annual General Meeting held in January was attended by 60 members (Click here to read article).

Quality new recruits from Tasmania in Darrell Hodgetts (Photo) and Terry Larkins where standouts during the season. They went on to tie for the Magpies Best and Fairest award.  Hodgetts also won the club’s first senior league medal playing predominantly at Centre Half Back. Paul O’Doherty (under 16s) and Brian McDonald (under 13s) completed a clean sweep of league medals for the club in 1966. McDonald and O’Doherty both went on to prove themselves at senior level.

Reliable defender Ken Rodger oversaw the first training run before Terry Larkins took the reins as Captain Coach. The most significant recruit of 1966 was the then 19-year-old Ken Best. Born and bred in Brisbane he started his junior football with Mayne and Sandgate. Ken was to spend some time in Heywood where his father was in business with Harold Peacock. In a complete coincidence, Ken was to play with his father’s 40-year-old former business partner in the Gold Coast’s first undefeated premiership. Best’s contribution over the next few years was to be significant in the club’s history.

Another young player in 17-year-old Terry Doyle (Photo) from the Ovens and Murray League took the GCAFL by storm, averaging eight goals a game in the first seven rounds. He went on to be the first player GCAFL player to kick 100 goals in a season. He achieved this in the first quarter of the Grand Final and finished the season with a tally of 104 (Photo). He kicked 14 goals against Coolangatta in round 14 and 12 against Labrador in round three when Larkins kicked 11 and the Magpies amassed 38.21.249.

The start to the 1966 season was truly awesome with 12, 21, 40, 25, and 7 goal victories in the first five rounds. The Magpies finished the season with a percentage of 396 (Ladder), with a 21-point victory over Surfers Paradise the closest a rival came during the home and away series.

Labrador were to struggle through the season but were bolstered when Southport were allowed to transfer excess players to them during the second half of the season. Southport juniors Ken Sharp and Chris Manuel were regularly named in Labrador’s best players.

Coach Larkins was felled heavily in the round ten clash with Beenleigh and suffered a broken jaw. The Magpies went on their winning way however with no opponent really threatening in the last five home and away games. Larkins returned for the finals series where Surfers Paradise was defeated by 20 points in a fiery Second Semi Final in the closest game of the year (Click here to read article). Tough Sandgate recruit Col Luhrs and former Tasmanian Ron Tonks were reported. Luhrs played the following week and continued to assert his physical presence.

The Grand Final was virtually over at quarter time with Southport 7.7.49 keeping the Demons scoreless. Surfers fought back to within four goals at three quarter time but the Magpies ran away with it in the end 14.24.108 to 7.16.58 (Click here to read article). Harold Peacock, who had been out injured most of the season and was a last minute call up for the Grand Final, kicked the last goal of the match to put a great full stop to his playing career (Click here to read article). Les Napper who had been involved in a car accident the night before, came straight from the hospital and played a serviceable game in the Ruck.

In a truly great day for the club, the under 16s downed the previously undefeated Surfers Paradise. Ken McDonald had returned to the club and led the under 16s to a shock victory. Tireless Magpies worker Carl Tasker was instrumental in the success of this team. It was an amazing turn around by McDonald’s group who were beaten by 100 points in the Second Semi Final.

The under 13s had been eliminated in the Preliminary Final but they too were an unqualified success story (Photo). After starting the year with almost no players, coach Leo Busch undertook a determined recruiting drive. Aquinas College was a fertile source of players and Busch and his helpers attacked the task with evangelical determination. He then molded his unlikely outfit into a more then competitive unit. His efforts were acknowledged in the QAFL Annual Report.

This year Mr. Busch went round the schools and found that many lads who were wanting to play football could not get a game in Rugby teams and so were not playing at all. Using this potential he started coaching these lads for Australian Rules with great success. Each match it was possible to see the improvement in the team. 

(QAFL Annual Report 1966, p.41)

After a mid season visit from cheer girls from Carlton and Hawthorn (Click here to read article) the Southport Magpies cheer squad (Photo) was formed and another important part of the club’s history and identity had commenced. The Gold Coast Bulletin when reporting on the end of season function at the Surfers Paradise Ski Gardens said:

A great year for Southport and a credit to the committee, players, coaches and of course, the Southport Cheer Girls.

(Gold Coast Bulletin September 30, 1966, p.44.) (Click here to read article)

Other articles/photos:

(1966 premiership team)

(Rod Fox preparing for Grand Final)

1966 Match Results

Date  Venue Home Away Southport Goalkickers and Best Players
Round 1 17/04/1966 Isle of Capri Surfers 5.4.34 Southport 14.25.109 (Best: Best, Doyle, Manuel, Larkins)
(Doyle 6)
Round 2 24/04/1966 Owen Park Southport 20.20.140 PBC 1.5.11 (Best: Hodgetts, Tonks, Larkins, Martin, Doyle)
(Doyle 8, Larkins 5)
Round 3 1/05/1966 Owen Park Southport 38.21.249 Labrador 1.2.8 (Best: Larkins, Doyle, Blake, Pearce, Wark)
(Doyle 12, Larkins 11)
Round 4 8/05/1966 Labrador Sports Ground Southport 21.29.155 Coolangatta 0.4.4 (Best: Manuel, Martin, Rodger, Pearce, I.Radcliffe, Buffington)
(Doyle 4, Larkins 4, Manuel 2)
Round 5 15/05/1966 Beenleigh Show Ground Beenleigh 8.9.57 Southport 14.15.99 (Best: Rodger, Martin, Hodgetts, Doyle, S.Napper, L.Napper)
(Doyle 8)
Round 6 29/05/66 Owen Park Southport 19.11.125 Surfers 16.8.104 (Doyle 6, Radcliffe 5, Sherring 3, Larkins 2)
Round 7 5/06/1966 Salk Oval PBC 8.8.56 Southport 17.24.126 (Best: Larkins, Campbell, Hodgetts, Doyle)
(Doyle 9, Larkins 4, Manuel 2, Campbell, Napper)
Round 8 12/06/1966 Owen Park Southport 13.13.91 Labrador 3.6.24 (Best: Hodgetts, Manuel, Campbell, L.Napper, Larkins, I.Radcliffe, Fox)
(Doyle 5, Manuel 3, Larkins 2)
Round 9 19/06/1966 Len Peak Oval Coolangatta 3.6.24 Southport 21.21.147 (Best: Larkins, Burns, Pearce, Campbell, Martin, Hodgetts)
Round 10 03/07/1966 Owen Park Southport 20.20.140 Beenleigh 9.4.58 (Best: Tonks, B.Napper, Campbell, Larkins, I.Radcliffe)
Round 11 10/07/1966 Isle of Capri Surfers 4.5.29 Southport 8.15.63
Round 12 17/07/1966 Owen Park Southport 16.21.117 PBC 7.8.50 (Best: Rodger, Hodgetts, Doyle, Martin, Sherring, Luhrs)
(Doyle 9, I.Radcliffe 2, Buffington, L.Napper, Peacock, Tonks)
Round 13 31/07/1966 Owen Park Southport 23.10.148 Labrador 5.3.33 (Best:Best, L.Napper, Blake, Hodgetts, Campbell)
Round 14 7/08/1966 Owen Park Southport n/a Coolangatta n/a (Best: Burns, Best, Manuel, Martin, Blake)
(Doyle 14)
Round 15 14/08/1966 Beenleigh Show Ground Beenleigh n/a Southport n/a
First Semi 21/08/1966 Salk Oval PBC 8.11.59 Coolangatta 5.8.38
Second Semi 28/08/1966 Owen Park Southport 15.6.96 Surfers 10.16.76 (Best: Campbell, Martin, Best, Rodger, Larkins, Hodgetts, Luhrs)
(Larkins 5, Doyle 4, L.Napper 2, Burns, Radcliffe, Tonks, Black)
Prelim 4/09/1966 Salk Oval Surfers 18.16.124 PBC 3.6.24
Grand Final 11/09/1966 Salk Oval Southport 14.24.108 Surfers 7.16.58 (Best: Larkins, Hodgetts, Burns, Campbell, Best, Martin)