Labrador took out their first premiership as Southport miss the finals for the first time in their history.

The season commenced with an ambitious Kickathon promotion by the GCAFL. Various players from each club kicked a football from Greenmount to Main Beach. Leo “The Lip” Busch was in the thick of a promotion that raised valuable dollars for Surf Lifesaving clubs and invaluable promotion for Australian Football (Click here to read article).

Southport Magpies were still smarting after letting the 1969 premiership slip through their fingers. Whilst other clubs had been proactive over the summer, the Magpies missed the boat with a host of new footballers that had arrived on the Coast. The words of Gold Coast Bulletin journalist Jack “The Rabbi” Rebbechi in April 1970 were to prove most prophetic in relation to the Magpies season.

Every club with the possible exception of the Magpies will certainly be stronger … The Magpies have evidently lost a lot of players and have not recruited too well either. True they still have champion boot artist, captain coach, Bob Burke …

(Gold Coast Bulletin April 17, 1970, p.40)

Losses included Bob Webb, Max Nowlan and Lee Saltzer (who moved to Mackay and was active in getting football started with the help of former GCAFL medalist and Grand Final umpire Leo Camm). Ken Best was to also miss most of the year with further shoulder problems.

Collingwood continued their interest in Gold Coast talent, recruiting Southport junior star, Brian McDonald (Click here to read article)McDonald was the son of club patron and generous benefactor Ossie McDonald.

New Magpie recruits included Noel Pertzell (Bacchus Marsh), and two future Magpie Best and Fairest winners, Ian Rapkins and Stan Sheehan, both from Ballarat (Click here for photo of Leo Busch presenting 1970 Best and Fairest trophy to Ian Rapkins). Wayne and Kerry Reibelt established themselves as senior players. 1966 Premiership coach Terry Larkins returned to play and also coach the under 17s. Dave Burns (Photo), in his tenth season with the Magpies, took charge of the under 14s.

1970 started promisingly for the Magpies with a 14 goal drubbing of Coolangatta. Bob Burke began where he left off in 1969 with a brilliant 12-goal haul (Photo)Burke had primed the team well with practice matches against QAFL heavyweights Coorparoo and Morningside. Beach training runs were a new innovation that seemed to be paying dividends. Burke’s form continued, when he kicked 27 goals in the first four rounds.

Southport continued to lead the way in many areas off the field. In a move that indicated just how far the GCAFL had come in its first decade the Magpies announced in early June that all senior players would be paid.

A string of injuries and absences were to decimate the Magpies mid season. The club was then rocked with an unprecedented bombshell when Bob Burke announced he was seeking a clearance to be Captain Coach of Coolangatta. At that stage the Magpies had won two of eight matches, forfeiting their round eight fixture with Surfers Paradise. Burke departed and Des Collins was eventually appointed as his replacement.

The resilience and character of the club was being truly tested. The Southport spirit came to the fore as Ken Best returned in round 12 and the fifth placed Magpies defeated eventual premiers Labrador in a stirring victory. The season was back on track and it all came down to a round 15 away match with Palm Beach-Currumbin for a chance to sneak into the final four. In a spiteful encounter, peppered with several wild brawls (Photo) and reports, the Magpies fell short and missed the finals for the first time.

Ken Best impressed more than his Australian Football peers with his cameo role late in the season. Some in Rugby league believed he could follow in the footsteps of Barry Spring who had transferred from Mayne in the QAFL to Norths in the Brisbane Rugby League (BRL) (Click here to read article).

The highlight of the season was the club’s under 17 premiership (Click here to read article) under the guidance of 1966 Senior Premiership coach Terry Larkins with able assistance from Carl Tasker. He was instrumental in leading the young Magpies group that included names such as Mick Kelly and Dennis Fankhauser (Team photo).

Stan Sheehan, Warren Burns, Dave Burns and Ian Rapkins represented the Gold Coast in a post-season match against Port Moresby.

Other articles/photos:

(Frank O’Rourke)

(Peter McGrath)

(S Sharpe)  

(1970 Seniors) 

(Geoff Whittaker)

1970 Match Results

Date  Venue Home Away Southport Goalkickers and Best Players
Round 1 19/04/1970 Owen Park Southport 23.11.138 Coolangatta 10.7.67 (Best: Alexander, Burke, D Burns, McGrath, Slattery, Pertzel)
(Burke 12, Alexander 3, Thrift 2, McGrath, Sheehan, Wilkinson, Slattery, Sapwell)
Round 2 26/04/1970 Labrador Oval Labrador 18.21.139 Southport 17.9.111 (Best: Sapwell, Sharpe, Wilkinson, Alexander, Austin, Briody)
(Burke 4, Doyle 4, Wilkinson 4, Rapkins 2, Alexander 2, Slattery, Hortz)
Round 3 4/05/1970 Owen Park Southport 12.10.82 Surfers 12.18.90 (Best: Sheehan, Rapkins, Doyle, Sapwell, Austin, Whittaker, Larkins)
(O’Rourke 4, Austin 3, Burke, Alexander, Larkins, Doyle, Sapwell)
Round 4 11/05/1970 Owen Park Southport 39.28.262 Lismore 4.4.28 (Best: Rapkins, Larkins, Burke, Slattery, Sapwell, Hortz)
(Burke 13, Larkins 13, Rapkins 5, Monson 3, Perzel 2, Alexander, O’Rourke, Turner)
Round 5 18/05/1970 Salk Oval PBC 15.21.111 Southport 12.20.92 (Best: Sapwell, Doyle, Best, Sheehan, w Reibelt, Austin)
(Doyle 3, Pertzell, Alexander, Larkins, Sheehan, Burke, O’Rourke)
Round 6 31/05/70 Len Peak Oval Coolangatta 15.12.102 Southport 12.9.87 (Best: W Reibelt, Rapkins, Sharpe, D Burns, Doyle, Best)
Round 7 7/06/1970 Owen Park Southport 13.14.92 Labrador 21.23.149 (Best: Alexander, Rapkins, D Burns, McGrath, Thrift)
(Larkins 3, W Riebelt 2, Burke 2, Rapkins, Monson, Alexander, Doyle)
Round 8 14/06/1970 Isle of Capri Southport lost on forfeit Surfers
Round 9 21/06/1970 Albert Park Lismore 4.2.26 Southport 26.16.152 (Best: Larkins, Roden, McGrath)
(Larkins 15)
Round 10 28/06/1970 Owen Park Southport 15.13.103 PBC 18.23.131 (Best: W Burns, Sheehan, McGrath, Whittaker, Rapkins)
(Larkins 4, O’Rourke 3, Sapwell 3, Alexander, Sheehan, Rapkins, W Burns, Pertzel)
Round 11 12/07/1970 Owen Park Southport n/a Coolangatta n/a
Round 12 19/07/1970 Labrador Oval Labrador 7.15.57 Southport 10.9.69
Round 13 26/07/1970 Owen Park Southport 9.14.68 Surfers 20.16.136 (Best: Larkins, D Burns, Rapkins, W Reibelt, L Napper, Alexander)
(Alexander 4, Rapkins 2, D Burns, Pertzell, Larkins)
Round 14 2/08/1970 Owen Park Southport 35.37.247 Lismore 10.3.63 (Best: Kelly, Sheehan, Larkins, Thrift, Pertzell)
(McGrath 8, Pertzell 7, Sapwell 5, Kelly 5, W Burns 4, Larkins 4)
Round 15 9/08/1970 Salk Oval PBC 17.13.115 Southport 12.12.84
First Semi 16/08/1970 Labrador 18.12.120 Coolangatta 14.14.98
Second Semi 23/08/1970 Owen Park Surfers 17.17.119 PBC 15.11.101
Prelim 30/08/1970 PBC 15.18.108 Labrador 19.19.133
Grand Final 5/09/1970 Owen Park Surfers 13.14.92 Labrador 15.13.103 Umpire: Max Beggs
Under 17 Southport 8.8.56 Surfers 3.16.34
Under 14 Surfers 7.5.47 Lismore 5.2.32