Bob Burke kicked 24 goals in a home and away match. In spite of premiership favoritism the Magpies went down to Surfers Paradise who took out their third premiership in succession.

Long hair, moustaches, and mutton chop side burns abounded at Southport AFC as the Gold Coast began to emerge into a very different place than it had been when Magpies commenced in 1961. In 1969 the GCAFL was well organised and the action on the field was at its most competitive in eight years of football on the Coast. 1968 easy beats Lismore were to finish third and their round five win over Southport was to gain more press coverage than a Johnny Famechon fight (Click here to read article). This was only one of two losses during the home and away series for the Magpies.

Several new recruits bolstered the Magpie ranks with Peter Sapwell (Photo) from Frankston being a great find and an eventual club stalwart. Guy Zamarini (Moreland) (Photo), Lee Saltzer (Wilston Grange), Laurie Monson (Albury via Surfers Paradise) all arrived and Frank O’Rourke returned. Wayne Reibelt graduated from an under 17 team in which Mick Kelly was also developing. Under 17 star Brian McDonald was the club’s first state representative when he was selected for the Queensland Schoolboys (Photo).

The quick development of the code on the Gold Coast and its position as the number one sport through the 1960’s was, in no doubt, largely the result of a wave of southern migration. But the Southport AFC (and other Coast clubs) was also proactive in junior development. The 1969 Magpies was a young team and it boasted many accomplished locally developed players. Some of these included club greats Dave Burns and Ken Best. Others to graduate during the 60’s and play in season 1969 were Paul Hood, Warren Burns, Kerry Reibelt, Wayne Reibelt, Alan Watkins, Les Napper and Peter McGrath.

The Magpies were to have their first genuine ex-VFL player in Max Nowlan ( Geelong and St Kilda via Maryborough, Victoria) (Click here to read article) that season. Nowlan, albeit at the end of his career, played several brilliant matches for the Magpies during his only season at the club.

Bob Burke (Photo) originally from Launceston, spent 1967 and 1968 at Kedron (Brisbane) before shifting to the Coast to coach the Magpies in 1969 (Click here to read article). In a record-breaking effort he was to kick 100 goals after 11 rounds, 118 in the 15 home and away games, 13 in finals, 35 in the preseason, and eight for the Gold Coast representative team (Click here to read article). In 22 games he amassed 174 goals. This herculean effort was capped with a record 24 goals against Lismore in round 10 (Click here to read article).

The season started inauspiciously with Ken Best injuring his shoulder in a surfing accident on the morning of round one. However a round nine, 98 point drubbing of arch – rival Surfers Paradise saw the Magpies established as clear premiership favourites. A Second Semi-Final win over the Demons confirmed that the club was on track for another flag. A three quarter time Grand Final lead was run down by Surfers Paradise however, and the Demons took out their third consecutive GCAFL Premiership.

The under 17’s failed to make the Grand Final, but under the guidance of coach Bevan Walters, amassed the huge score line 41.26.271 to 0.1.1 against Lismore during the season (Click here to read article).

The Owen Park precinct was now shared with other sports. It was not unusual for sports lovers to be able to enjoy Australian Football, Equestrian, and Rugby League on a Sunday afternoon. The Gold Coast Tigers Rugby League club was based at Owen Park and had been joined in the Northern New South Wales Group 18 competition by the Burleigh Bears. Gold Coast Rugby Union, after winning a Brisbane sub-districts premiership in 1967 played in the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) first grade in 1968. In 1969 they were to share Owen Park. The code struggled however and went into recess for some time. Soccer still had only one senior team participating in Brisbane lower grades.

Rugby League was gaining in strength and whilst Australian Football had strong juniors and many more senior players, league now dominated the school sport scene. Media coverage of Australian Football was also being challenged by League. Gold Coast Bulletin scribe Dick Wilson, in his popular weekly column, could not contain his bemusement with Australian Football through constant references to it as APP (Aerial Ping Pong).

Popular new club President Leo Busch made his mark in his first season as the club strove to be run on more of a business footing (Click here to read article). Busch was also active in promoting the game to the likes of Dick Wilson at the Gold Coast Bulletin. Social functions for the season were often held at Ossie McDonald’s Queen’s Hotel in Nerang and a Ladies Committee was also in full swing.

The Gold Coast representative team played a Brisbane reserve grade representative team at the Gabba and Owen Park during the season. Southport representative players were: Ken Best, Lee Saltzer, Geoff Alexander, Warren Burns, Terry Doyle, Dave Burns and Bob Burke.

Other articles/photos:

(Frank O’Rourke)  

(Junior training)

(Bob Burke)

(Guy Zamarini)

(Grand Final)

(Kevin Roden)

(Old Buffers)

(1969 recruits)

(Dave Burns – Best and Fairest)

1969 Match Results

Date  Venue Home Away Southport Goalkickers and Best Players
Round 1 19/04/1969 Salk Oval PBC 8.8.56 Southport 14.14.98 (Burke 4, Doyle 2)
Round 2 26/04/1969 Owen Park Southport 22.22.154 Labrador 5.6.36 (Burke 8, Sapwell 3, W Burns 3, Doyle 3, Whitfield 2, Manuel 2, Zamarini, Nowlan, Whinchester)
Round 3 4/05/1969 Owen Park Southport 35.22.232 Coolangatta 3.7.25 (Best: Nowlan, Alexander, Sepwell, Burns, Whittaker, Burke)
(Burke 11, O’Rourke 5, D Burns 5, Doyle 4, Nowlan 3, W Burns 3, Alexander 2, Saltzer, Sepwell)
Round 4 11/05/1969 Owen Park Southport 17.13.115 Surfers 16.16.112 (Best: Nowlan, McGrath, D Burns, Alexander, W Burns, Whittaker)
(Burke 8, Doyle 5, Nowlan 2, McGrath, Hood)
Round 5 18/05/1969 Albert Park Lismore 8.14.62 Southport 6.18.54 (Best: Whittaker, Burke, Alexander, Burns)
Round 6 1/06/69 Owen Park Southport 14.17.101 PBC 9.14.68 (Best: Roden, Turner, Best, W Burns, Nowlan, D Burns)
(Burke 4, D Burns 3, Doyle 2, Alexander 2, Best, O’Rourke, Nowlan)
Round 7 8/06/1969 Labrador Labrador 5.7.37 Southport 20.25.145 (Best: McGrath, Doyle, Monson, Alexander, Thrift, Best, Burns)
(Burke 10, Doyle 3, D Burns 2, Zamarin, Alexander, Hood, Sapwell, Wyeth)
Round 8 15/06/1969 Len Peak Oval Coolangatta 9.8.62 Southport 22.11.143 (Best: Monson, Alexander, D Burns, Watkins)
(Burke 13, Zamarin 5, Doyle, McGrath, Potter, Warren)
Round 9 22/06/1969 Isle of Capri Surfers 2.6.18 Southport 17.14.116 (Best: D Burns, Nowlan, Sapwell, Burke, Doyle)
(Burke 6, D Burns 5, Sapwell 4, Nowlan, Doyle)
Round 10 29/06/1969 Owen Park Southport 38.36.264 Lismore 5.4.34 (Best: Burke, Doyle, Sawell, Potter, Alexander)
(Burke 24, Sawell 5, Zamarin 2 Potter 2, Hood, Saltzer, Alexander, Doyle, Nowlan)
Round 11 13/07/1969 Salk Oval PBC 9.15.69 Southport 20.12.132 (Burke 8, Sapwell 4, Nowlan 2, Monson 2, D Burns 2, Webb)
Round 12 20/07/1969 Labrador Oval Labrador 10.12.82 Southport 17.17.119 (Best: Thrift, Webb, Monson, D Burns, Burke)
(Burke 8, D Burns 2, McGrath, Monson, Wyeth, Sapwell, Alexander, McLean)
Round 13 27/07/1969 Owen Park Southport n/a Coolangatta n/a
Round 14 3/08/1969 Owen Park Southport 12.9.81 Surfers 12.17.89 (Best: Sapwell, Nowlan, Alexander, Whittaker)
(Burke 5, Nowlan 2, Alexander, Monson, W Burns, Doyle)
Round 15 10/08/1969 Albert Park Lismore 3.3.31 Southport 8.15.63 (Best: Alexander, Monson, Best, Turner)
(Burke 4, Zamarini 3, Alexander)
First Semi 17/08/1969 Salk Oval PBC 7.13.55 Lismore 13.10.88
Second Semi 24/08/1969 Owen Park Southport 13.13.91 Surfers 10.17.77 (Best: Webb, Burke, Sapwell, O’Rourke)
(Burke 8, Sapwell 2, Webb, D Burns, Zamarini)
Prelim 31/08/1969 Salk Oval Surfers 14.17.101 Lismore 2.10.22
Grand Final 6/09/1969 Owen Park Southport 10.9.69 Surfers 14.10.94 (Best: Webb, Burke, Rodden, Whittaker)
(Burke 5, Webb 2, Doyle, W Burns, Alexander)
Under 17 PBC 7.9.51 Coolangatta 6.6.42
Under 14 Surfers 7.2.44 Lismore 2.5.17