The dominance of 1975 was repeated and complimented with reserves (undefeated) and colt’s premierships. A second club championship in a row indicated the Magpies had arrived.

The success of 1975 was always going to be difficult to eclipse. How do you improve on the perfect season? The 1976 Magpies came within one game (a round ten one-point loss to Palm Beach – Currumbin) of achieving back-to-back undefeated premierships. They dominated the GCAFL again, eventually defeating grand final debutants Broadbeach by 27 points (Click here to read article). As a club, 1976 did exceed the previous season’s achievements with an undefeated reserve grade premiership (Click here to read article)and inaugural colt’s success (Click here to read article). Junior premierships also flowed. President Alan Mackenzie summed it up in the 1976 Southport AFC Annual Report.

After such a successful 1975, even the most optimistic supporter would have had his doubts that Southport Football Club could surpass those achievements in 1976. However it is now established that for the first time in the history of the club we have won premiership flags in all grades: Firsts, Seconds and Colts and in addition Southport Juniors have won the under 16 flag and were grand finalists in the under 14s. This tremendous depth of club strength also won us other trophies throughout the year. The Club Championship, the Labour Day Shield and the Broadwater Pennant were all retained [with] individual performances of the Ralph Tobiano Award for Zane Taylor and the Citizen Watch Award for Bob Webb for his outstanding coaching performance.

Mackenzie, after acknowledging the senior success, goes on to mention some of the other contributions to the club’s great year.

Barry Rudd as coach and Gerry Leahy as captain took the second eighteen to an undefeated premiership … Wayne Eastman in his first year of coaching showed the benefit of his VFL experience to pilot the colts to their first ever premiership. The improvement in the latter half of the season and their complete dominance of the finals series is a tribute to Wayne [and] and to captain John Fitzpatrick and to all players.

Success on the field is only one facet of the over all success in a club, and I feel once again we have had a most enjoyable season, socially and financially. Many people contributed to this … I would particularly like to record my personal appreciation to Wally Fankhauser, Kevin Smith and John Meyer … No club can be more fortunate to have had such a hard working group as our ladies committee. Words cannot adequately express our thanks for the time they put in, not only on Sundays, where they miss seeing the football to provide canteen services, but also during the week organising supplies and organising the various social functions.

We were fortunate enough once again to have the facilities of the Down Under Bar at the Pacific Hotel as our headquarters. To Mr. and Mrs. Pelerman, we again record our sincere thanks for your hospitality and your generosity.

Wally Fankhauser announced his retirement from the committee after three years service on top of six years as the senior team manager. He was of course to return but Mackenzie had this to say about his first six years of involvement.

Wally is a Life Member of the club and has worked continuously twelve months a year for several years to see Southport succeed … I would personally like to record my appreciation for his efforts while I have been associated with Southport and state that no football club can ever have been better served by any man than Southport has by Wally Fankhauser.

Stars from 1975 in Ian Rankin and Randall Witton returned to Geelong but they were to be replaced by a bevy of new talent. Andy Stewart, a former medalist in the Ballarat League, was a quality mid-fielder. Centre Half Forward Tony Wolff arrived from Port Fairy and the flow of players from Launceston continued with Barry Lowe finding his way north. Other arrivals included Kevin Kirby (Ballarat), Graham Trevena, Peter Lord, Barry Thompson and Brian Donoghue.

Former colt’s product Wayne Morris returned from Swan Hill to commence a long and colourful career with the Magpies. David Hyde spent much of the previous season in the reserves. He won the Most Improved Player award and kicked 54 goals for the season. Zane Taylor was outstanding all season and capped his Magpies Best and Fairest with a best on ground performance in the Grand Final. John Cheel was consistently in the best players once again. Stewart, Trevena, Donoghue and Kirby were the standouts of the new recruits. Bill Ryan and Lindsay Fawns had interrupted seasons but were also important contributors. Fawns represented Queensland in their victory over the Australian Capital Territory.

The Magpies stretched their winning streak to 33 matches when they defeated end of season Grand Final opponents Broadbeach by 14 goals in round nine. Surfers Paradise came within 55 points in round seven in the closest result of the first half of the season. Journalist Fred “The Frog” Fraser stated that Southport’s domination was affecting interest in the code on the Coast. He suggested that local authorities needed to concoct ways to bring the Magpies back to the field. A Southport member from Miami probably answered this absurd idea most succinctly in her letter to the editor of the Gold Coast Bulletin.

I simply had to write to you to express my utter disgust at your article in the Bulletin concerning the strength of Southport Australian Rules. Fancy suggesting that Southport should drop to the level of the other five clubs in the competition. For two years now I have been listening to the committee men and women of Palm Beach, Labrador, Surfers Paradise, Coolangatta and Broadbeach actually criticizing how good our club is. Why don’t they … do the same amount of work that Southport has …

Southport AFC Secretary Kevin Smith contributed to the public debate with these words:

Did Bernborough ruin racing when he was unbeatable. Did Bradman destroy cricket … did St George ruin rugby league when they won 11 premierships in a row? Of course they didn’t. Everybody loves a champion and that is why … [contrary] to what you say … that Aussie Rules is still drawing good crowds on the Coast.

Two weeks after this correspondence Palm Beach-Currumbin defeated the Magpies by one point in round ten to put an end to the unbeatable tag that the club had rightfully earned. The winning streak did however commence more serious debate within the broader GCAFL community of a representative team to play in the QAFL.

Broadbeach came within 19 points in round 14 but the overall domination continued with six 100 point plus wins and nine wins by nine goals or more during 1976. Not as emphatic as 1975 but still a monumental season, particularly when the success of the undefeated reserve grade and the colts premiership are added. A 20-goal Second Semi Final drubbing of Palm Beach-Currumbin (Click here to read article) underlined just how far ahead the Magpies had gone in two short years.

For many years end of season social football involving “old buffers” was conducted. “Ladies” matches often accompanied these fun days. In 1976 this became a little more serious when the Southport Sirens female team played a game in late July (Photo).

Other articles/photos:

(Eddie Bowtell)

(Grant Jones 1)

(Grant Jones 2)

(Grand Final preview)

1976 Match Results

Date Venue Home Away Southport Goalkickers and Best Players
Round 1 5/04/1976 Labrador Oval Labrador 18.8.116 Southport 37.18.240 (Best: Ryan, Eastman, Allan, Travena, Fawns, Webb)
(Lowe 6, Ryan 6, Eastman 5, Lord 5, Fawns 5, Thompson 3, Travena 2, Morris 2 Webb 2, Allan)
Round 2 12/04/76 Owen Park Southport 24.19.163 Surfers 7.10.52 (Best: Fawns, Lowe, Allan, Travena, Webb, Jones)
(Lowe 5, Webb 5, Fawns 4, Hyde 3, Wotjala 2, Ottoway 2, Ryan, Travena, Thompson)
Round 3 19/04/1976 Len Peak Oval Coolangatta 2.2.14 Southport 40.30.270 (Best: Burns, Webb, Jordan, Hyde, Thompson, Lowe)
(Hyde 8, Thompson 8, Lowe 7, Webb 5, Morris 2, Allan 2, Wotjala 2, Hunter 2, Jordan, Lord, Kirby, Fawns)
Round 4 26/04/1976 Owen Park Southport 19.14.128 Broadbeach 9.11.65 (Best: Cheel, Travena, Rudd, Hyde)
(Hyde 5, Lowe 3, Ryan 2, Webb 2, Cheel 2, Kirby 2, Fawns, Stewart, Morris)
Round 5 4/05/076 Salk Oval PBC 3.13.31 Southport 22.24.156 (Best: Travena, Taylor, Hunter)
(Hyde 6, Ryan 4, Wotjala 3, Lowe 3, Fawns 2, Lord 2)
Round 6 10/05/1976 Owen Park Southport 20.23.143 Labrador 12.12.84 (Best: Taylor, Brad Rudd, Stewart, Barry Rudd, Cheel, Wotjala)
(Hyde 5, Lord 4, Wotjala , Lord 2, Fawns 2, Stewart, Miles, Allan, Cheel, Wolff)
Round 7 17/05/76 Isle of Capri Surfers 8.9.57 Southport 15.22.112 (Best: Taylor, Hunter, Stewart, Wotjala, Hyde, Lord)
(Wotjala 4, Hyde 3, Miles 3, Lord 2, Allan, Cheel, Jordan)
Round 8 12/06/1976 Owen Park Southport 21.14.140 Coolangatta 12.12.84 (Best: Cheel, Taylor, Donoghue, Webb, Lord, Ryan)
(Hyde 5, Ryan 3, Allan 3, Webb 3, Lowe 2, Cheel 2, Lord, Stewart, Burns)
Round 9 31/05/1976 Paradise Point Broadbeach 7.7.49 Southport 20.22.142 (Best: Webb, Taylor, Lowe, Wolff, Hunter, Brad Rudd)
(Webb 5, Lowe 4, Hunter 2, Hyde 2, Lord 2, Allan, Torrens, Cheel, Wotjala, Wolff)
Round 10 7/06/1976 Owen Park Southport 13.13.91 PBC 13.14.92 (Best: Cheel, Taylor, Stewart, Lord, Ryan, Donoghue)
(Lord 4, Stewart 2, Cheel 2, Hyde, Piesley, Lowe, Wotjala, Fawns)
Round 11 20/06/1976 Labrador Oval Labrador 6.10.46 Southport 13.17.95 (Best: Stewart, Taylor, Cheel, Wotjala, Donoghue, Webb)
(Cheel 3, Torrens 2, Eastman 2, Hyde 2, Stewart, Piesley, Burns, Lord)
Round 12 27/06/76 Owen Park Southport n/a Surfers n/a
Round 13 5/07/1976 Len Peak Oval Coolangatta 15.5.95 Southport 28.17.185 (Best: Taylor,Stwerart, Kelly, Kirby, Dawson)
(Kirby 6, Kelly 5, Thompson 4, Webb 3, Ryan 3, Wotjala 2, Cheel 2, Stewart, Totterns, Hyde)
Round 14 12/07/1976 Owen Park Southport 14.19.103 Broadbeach 12.12.84 (Wotjala 3, Kirby 2, Ryan, Cheel, Webb, Fawns, Morris, Kelly, Thompson, Wolff)
Round 15 19/07/1976 Salk Oval PBC 9.13.67 Southport 16.23.119 (Best: Ryan, Miles, Stewart, Cheel, Kirby, Webb)
(Kirby 4, Miles 2, Cheel 2, Wotjala 2, Wolff 2, Webb, Kelly, Faens, Law)
Round 16 26/07/1976 Labrador Oval Labrador 14.10.94 Southport 22.28.160
Round 17 1/08/1976 Isle of Capri Surfers 3.7.25 Southport 17.20.122 (Best: Taylor, Stewart, Trevena, Hunter, Ryan)
(Hyde 3, Jones 3, Cheel 2, Fawns 2, Jordan 2, Bowtell 2, Kirby, Webb, Kelly)
Round 18 8/08/1976 Owen Park Southport 29.18.192 Coolangatta 6.11.47 (Best: Ryan, Stewart, Kirby, Jordan, Jones, Wotjala)
(Kirby 8, Jones 5, Webb 4, Jordan 3, Cheel 3, Wotjala 2, Ryan 2, Stewart, Hyde)
Round 19 15/08/1976 Owen Park Southport 22.19.151 Broadbeach 7.12.54 (Best: Stewart, Taylor, Trevena, Burns, Hyde, Donoghue, Fawns, Webb)
(Jones 5, Wotjala 4, Fawns 4, Ryan 2, Burns 2, Cheel, Taylor, Webb, Jordan, Hyde)
Round 20 23/08/1976 Salk Oval PBC 11.12.78 Southport 19.16.130 (Best: Torrens, Jones, Hyde, Donoghue, Cheel, Stewart, Trevena, Jordan)
(Jones 7, Hyde 3, Stewart 2, Jordan 2, Cheel, Kirby, Wotjala, Fawns, Lowe)
First Semi 30/08/1976 Broadbeach 17.22.124 Labrador 16.7.103
Reserves Surfers 15.24.114 Broadbeach 12.8.80
Colts Labrador 20.19.139 Surfers 18.5.113
Second Semi 6/09/1976 Southport 31.20.206 PBC 12.13.85 (Best: Stewart, Ryan, Wotjala, Wolff, Cheel, Kirby, Torrens)
(Ryan 5, Wolff 5, Stewart 4, Cheel 4, Kirby 4, Jones 2, Hyde 2, Wotjala 2, Fawns Jordan, Ottaway)
Reserves Southport 19.14.128 PBC 17.12.120 (Best: Watts, Myer, Gillet, Riebelt, Miles)
(Miles 5, Gillet 4, Clemens 2, Abbot, Eastman, Lowe, Forbes, Dawson)
Colts Southport 17.11.113 Broadbeach 12.14.86 (Best: Allard, Hortz, Rosin, Child, Edwards, Davis)
(Rosin 5, P D’Arcy 3, Davis 3, Edwards 2, Child, T D’Arcy, Wrathall, P Fitzgerald)
Prelim Final 13/09/1976 Broadbeach 14.17.101 PBC 13.14.92
Reserves PBC 15.19.109 Surfers 10.13.73
Colts Broadbeach 11.12.78 Labrador 9.22.76
Grand Final 20/09/1976 Southport 14.11.95 Broadbeach 9.14.68 (Best: Taylor, Donoghue, Webb, Ryan, Stewart, Wotjala, Trevena)
(Ryan 4, Wolff 2, Kirby, Cheel, Jones, Hyde, Stewart, Fawns, Wotjala, Webb)
Reserves Southport 14.17.101 PBC 9.11.65 (Best: Myer, Dawson, Miles, Piesley, Gillet)
(Miles 4, Rudd 3, Eastman 2, Piesley 2, Spence, Kelly, Forbes)
Colts Southport 15.7.97 Broadbeach 12.4.76 (Best: Manyweather, Rosin, Child, P D’Arcy, Allard)
(Whitfield 4, Edwards 3, Rosin 3, P D’Arcy 2, Single, Child, Davis)