1983 was the year the Mighty Magpies transformed into the Super Sharks

THE headlines in The Gold Coast Bulletin said it all after Southport marched triumphantly a premiership flag in their first year in the Queensland Australian Football League.

A club winning a premiership in its first season of a state league competition was unprecedented in the history of the code nationally and when Southport beat Morningside by 13.12 (90) to 12.5 (77) it heralded the rise of the Sharks from a force in a ‘bush’ competition – the Gold Coast AFL – to a power in Queensland’s premier series.

‘SENSATIONAL SHARKS’ was the back-page headline of the Bulletin. Yet it was the sub-headline that best summed it up. It read: ‘A triumph for Coast footy’.

Because it was just that. President Dr Alan Mackenzie did not miss the opportunity to have a crack at those in Brisbane who had always looked on the Gold Coast competition as second rate. “For too long. Brisbane people have denigrated Gold Coast football,” he was quoted by the Bulletin. “Our win just shows how strong Coast footy is. “It was a real triumph to beat them both for myself  and other blokes such as Barry Rudd, Sel Short, Peter Ives and Geoff Chant, who have been involved in the QAFL scene previously.
“It is something we have envisaged for several years and it gives me great satisfaction to beat them in their own backyard.”

That 1983 grand final victory was the culmination of a significant amount of planning, of recruiting the right playing personnel and of risking ridicule from envious Gold Coast clubs.

The journey from Magpies of GCAFL to Sharks of QAFL had its beginnings a couple of years before the official decision to leave the GCAFL was made at the end of the 1981 season.

A Gold Coast rep team had played matches against Papua New Guinea and some Brisbane clubs – and with good success – but it was Southport who were sounded out with an invitation from the QAFL to join them.
It was during the 1981 season that the club landed a winner when they had a chance meeting with former Fitzroy winger Norm Dare,who had coached Kedron to a QAFL flag in 1980 and was to complete a runners-up finish with the Brisbane club in 1981.

Dare had come down from Brisbane for the Gold Coast trots, which were then run on the old track over the fence from Southport’s Owen Park headquarters.

He walked into the Southport clubhouse, started talking to Dr Mackenzie and other officials, and told them he was interested in moving to the Gold Coast with his family.

He was signed and coached the club in 1982 in the GCAFL as an entree to the significant events that were to follow.

Southport actually departed the GCAFL as second best club because they lost both the 1981 and 1982 grand finals to fierce rivals Coolangatta.

It cost Southport $40,000 to join the QAFL – plus a loss of their Magpie identity – because western Brisbane club Sherwood were also invited to play in the QAFL in 1983 and they, too, wore the black and white striped jumpers of Collingwood.

Yet it was not the toss of a coin – a widely-held theory that Dr Mackenzie has dismissed as a myth – that turned the Southport Magpies into Southport Sharks.

That decision was made after a vote of members during 1982. Many of the club’s long-time supporters did not want to discard the Magpie name, but wiser heads prevailed – and with good reason, it must be said.
The club’s hierarchy knew that, because of the intense dislike the Magpies had built up with rival GCAFL people, they may have had trouble attracting players from other clubs.

So it was almost a complete new entity. The Southport name stayed, but a new nickname and a new-look jersey – still black and white, though – burst on to the scene at the start of 1983.

Dr Mackenzie and fellow board members still talk proudly about the fact that, of the 1983 grand final team, 15 players had been in the GCAFL system in 1982, 11 of them with Southport.

Three of that team came over from Coolangatta – Peter Guy, Tim Tagliabue and Peter Munro – Mick Hering and a then 17-year-oldJason Cotter came from Surfers Paradise and Mick Youngs came from Labrador.

Two others GCAFL players – Dave Franklin ( Labrador) and Gabe Nuspan (Coolangatta) were also enlisted and served the club well for several years.

Only three ‘interstaters’ made that grand final team. They were Andrew Bos and Steve Wells from the Geelong League, and Craig Crowley from Dandenong.

Of those three interstaters, Crowley went on to become a Southport legend and Wells became recruiting manager for Geelong – and we all know what happened in 2007 and 2009.

It was an impressive, thoroughly-planned build-up that led to Southport’s arrival in the QAFL. And the club delivered first-up.

The Sharks drew Western Districts for round one on March 20, 1983, and the Sharks scored by 7.12 (54) to 5.12 (42) at Owen Park.

A crowd estimated at more than 3,000 crammed into the close confines of Owen Park to watch.
With so many new faces in the club’s squad, selectors had a tough time settling on their final side to play Wests. It was:

Backs: Ken Clark, Randall Black, Zane Separovich.
Half-backs: Brian McNeil, Doug Byron, George Budge.
Centres: Tim Tagliabue, Mike Woolnough, Lynton Keighran.
Half-forwards: Craig Crowley, Tony Coeli, Ted Lake.
Forwards: Lino Girardi, Mark Doyle, Peter Boyce.
Rucks: Peter Guy, Steve Grossman, Gavan McGuane.
Interchange (from): Steve Fairweather, Gabe Nuspan, Wally Walsh, David Apted.

Of that first-up QAFL side, only Separovich, Budge, Byron, Tagliabue, Keighran, Crowley, Boyce, Guy and skipper McGuane played in the grand final six months later.

Full scoreboard from the first-up game was:
SOUTHPORT                    5.4   6.9   7.10   7.12 (54)
WESTERN DISTRICTS  3.1   3.3   5.5     5.12 (42)
Southport goals: T Tagliabue 3, T Lake, G McGuane, C Crowley, L Girardi.
Southport best: P Guy, G McGuane, S Grossman, D Byron, T Lake, L Keighran, T Tagliabue.
The Sharks quickly came back to earth because they subsequently lost their next three matches against Sandgate, Sherwood and Mayne.
But after that, and with club favourite Zane Taylor back at the club after three seasons with Geelong in the VFL, they lost only three more games on their way to that euphoric first-up grand final win over Morningside.

The class of 1983 who took Southport to the ground-breaking grand final was:
Backs: Mick Youngs, George Budge, Mick Hering.
Half-backs: Andrew Bos, Sel Short, Zane Taylor.
Centres: Lynton Keighran, Steve Wells, Ashley Miles.
Half-forwards: Tim Tagliabue, Doug Byron, Peter Boyce.
Forwards: Jason Cotter, Peter Munro, Zane Separovich.
Rucks: Peter Guy, Peter Ives, Gavan McGuane.
Interchange: Craig Crowley, Tom O’Connor.

Details of that memorable season-ender played at Windsor Park in Brisbane:
SOUTHPORT       3.2   4.5   7.8   13.12 (90)
MORNINGSIDE  3.1   5.1   8.2    12.5   (77)
GOALS: Southport:  P Boyce 2, T Tagliabue 2, P Munro 2, P Guy 2, T O’Connor, G McGuane, P Ives, J Cotter, Z Taylor. Morningside: T Tarrant 3, G Dwyer 2, J Newton 2, W Ledger 2, T Durward, M McGregor, J Willemse.
BEST: Southport: Z Taylor, G McGuane, S Wells, S Short, P Guy, A Bos. Morningside:  R Willet, T Croke, T Tarrant, G Doyle, M Burns, S Ross.

Adding to a great day for the QAFL’s new boys was success – by a whopping 26.15 (171) to 9.9 (63) – over Morningside in the reserve grade grand final.

Dave Franklin, David ‘Digger’ Apted and Lino Girardi were best for the Sharks, who had Michael Davidson (6), Andy Robinson(4) and Craig Purcell (4) the leading goalkickers.

Three former Queensland rep players – Mick Woolnough, Ted Lake and Randall Black – were in the seconds side that day, such was the club’s depth.

The Sharks Colts had been bundled out of the flag race in the preliminary final.

With Peter Guy tying with Sherwood’s  Bill Pierce – Zane Taylor also tied but was ineligible because of a suspension during the season – for the prestigious Grogan Medal, and Taylor being named Joe Grant Medallist for best-on-ground in the grand final, individual and club dominance by the Southport machine was complete.

The shrewd recruiting campaign by the Sharks was a bonanza mission, because all local signings performed with distinction.

Perhaps the most telling was the formidable attacking squadron of Munro, Boyce, Tagliabue and Separovich.
Between them the quartet kicked 203 goals for the season. Munro booted 65, Tagliabue 62, Separovich 46 and Boyce 30.

Another memorable occasion was the debut of Jason Cotter, an 18-year-old recruit from Surfers Paradise, in Southport’s side that played in the midweek Foster’s Championship series final against Morningside.

Southport lost that game at Windsor Park by 6.12 (48) to 7.4 (46), but Cotter was rarely out of the seniors again and went on to become a club legend on and off the field.

On the downside, rugged Southport utility Carl Gwynne was at the centre of a late-season controversy when he felled Morningside player-coach John Blair in the second semi-final.

Blair sustained severe facial injuries in the incident and an image of his battered face subsequently featured on the back page of aBrisbane afternoon newspaper.

Gwynne, just 18 at the time, was found guilty of striking Blair and copped a 10-match suspension, a decision that angered Southportofficials and described by president Dr Alan Mackenzie as Gwynne being ‘crucified’.

Season details: Games played 21, won 15, lost 6.
Best and fairest: Peter Guy.
Grogan Medal: 
Peter Guy tied with Billy Pierce (Zane Taylor also tied but was ineligible).
Joe Grant Medal: 
Zane Taylor.
Leading goalkicker: 
Peter Munro (65).
Foster’s Championship: Played 5, won 4, lost 1, lost final v Morningside 6.12 (48) to 7.4 (46).

The magpie comes down

And is replaced by the Shark


Round 1 (Mar 20):
SOUTHPORT        5.4   6.9   7.10   7.12 (54)
WESTERN DIST   3.1   3.3   5.5     5.12 (42)
Southport goals: T Tagliabue 3, T Lake, G McGuane, C Crowley, L Girardi.
Southport best: P Guy, G McGuane, S Grossman, D Byron, T Lake, L Keighran, T Tagliabue.
At Owen Park, Southport.

Round 2 (Mar 27):
SANDGATE    6.6  11.8  15.11  20.16 (136)
SOUTHPORT  3.4    6.6     9.9    13.10  (88)
Southport goals: W Walsh 4, C Crowley 3, P Boyce 2 , Z Separovich 2, T Tagliabue, L Keighran.
Southport best: P Ives, P Boyce, Z Separovich, C Crowley, G McGuane.
At Lemke Road Oval, Brisbane.

Round 3 (Apr 10):
SHERWOOD   5.4  11.6  13.9  19.16 (130)
SOUTHPORT  4.4   8.8    14.9  18.11 (119)
Southport goals: C Crowley 5, P Munro 2, Z Separovich 2, T Taglianue 2, W Walsh, T Lake, D Franklin, T O’Connor.
Southport best: T Tagliabue, S Short, P Munro, C Crowley, S Wells, B McNeill.
At Leyshon Park, South Brisbane.

Round 4 (Apr 17):
MAYNE             3.4  11.4  20.10  26.15 (171)
SOUTHPORT  5.3    8.4    11.7   16.11 (107)
Southport goals: S Wells 4, P Munro 4, P Boyce 2, P Ives 2, T Tagliabue, G Nuspan, C Crowley, S Short.
Southport best: P Guy, G Nuspan, M Youngs, S Short, P Munro, T Lake.
At Windsor Park, Brisbane.

Round 5 (Apr 17):
SOUTHPORT               11.3  16.7  23.13  26.17 (173)
WILSTON-GRANGE   3.5    5.9     9.11 16.16 (112)
Southport goals: T Tagliabue 7, P Boyce 6, P Munro 4, G Budge 2, C Crowley 2, T O’Connor, G Nuspan, D Franklin, P Ives, Z Taylor.
Southport’s best: T Tagliabue, M Youngs, P Boyce, P Guy, M Hering, S Short.
At Hickey Park, Brisbane.

Round 6 (May 22):
MORNINGSIDE  3.2  6.4  8.5  9.6 (60)
SOUTHPORT       1.3  4.5  6.7  6.9 (45)
Southport goals: G Budge 2, P Boyce, T Tagliabue, P Munro, C Crowley.
Southport best: P Guy, D Byron, M Youngs, G Budge, S Short. C Crowley.
At Esplen Oval, Brisbane.

Round 7 (May 29):
SOUTHPORT  4.3  9.5  12.6   14.7 (91)
KEDRON         2.3  4.5   9.6  12.10 (82)

Southport goals: P Boyce 5, P Munro 4, C Crowley, G Budge, T Tagliabue, M Davidson, G Nuspan.
Southport best: P Guy, S Short, T O’Connor, D Byron, M Hering, M Youngs.
At Anderson Oval, Brisbane.

Round 8 (Jun 5):
SOUTHPORT   5.1  5.1     9.5  12.7 (79)
COORPAROO  1.3  3.7  5.13   9.15 (69)

Southport goals: P Munro 5, P Boyce 4, T Tagliabue, C Purcell, S Wells.
Southport best: S Short, D Byron, P Munro, G McGuane, P Boyce, D Franklin.
At Giffin Park, Brisbane.

Round 9 (Jun 12):
SOUTHPORT                    4.5  7.10  12.13  15.13 (103)
WINDSOR-ZILLMERE  4.4    7.4    10.8   11.12  (78)
Southport goals: P Munro 5, Z Separovich 3, T Tagliabue 3, T O’Connor, D Byron, A Bos, L Girardi.
Southport best: G McGuane, G Budge, T Tagliabue, M Youngs, S Wells, P Guy.
At Owen Park, Southport.

Round 10 (Jun 19):
SANDGATE    5.2    8.5    12.5  13.9 (87)
SOUTHPORT  1.5  3.12   8.17  9.24 (78)

Southport goals: T Tagliabue 2, G McGuane 2, C Purcell 2, C Crowley, D Byron, M Youngs.
Southport best: Z Taylor, D Franklin, P Guy, M Youngs, C Purcell, L Keighran.
At Owen Park, Southport.

Round 11 (Jun 26):
SOUTHPORT   4.6  11.11  19.17  21.19 (145)
SHERWOOD    3.2      3.5      3.6       6.8  (44)
Southport goals: Z Separovich 5, T Lake 4, C Crowley 3, D Byron 3, Z Taylor 2, T Tagliabue, C Purcell, S Wells, M Youngs.
Southport best: P Guy, S Wells, Z Taylor, Z Separovich, L Keighran, M Youngs.
At Owen Park, Southport.

Round 12 (Jul 3):
SOUTHPORT                   8.1  14.5  15.8  16.12 (108)
WESTERN DISTRICTS  3.1     8.4  12.6   14.10 (94)

Southport goals:  P Munro 4, T Lake 3,. Z Separovich 3, T Tagliabue 2, T O’Connor , G McGuane, A Bos, R Black.
Southport best: Z Taylor, S Wells, M Youngs, P Munro, G McGuane, T Tagliabue.
At Chelmer Oval, Brisbane.

Round 13 (Jul 10):
SOUTHPORT  4.7  10.12  13.20  17.25 (127)
MAYNE            6.4      8.7  11.10  15.15 (105)

Southport goals: Z Separovich 5, P Boyce 2, T O’Connor 2, T Tagliabue 2, G McGuane 2, P Munro 2, D Byron 2.
Southport best: P Guy, G McGuane, S Wells, T O’Connor, S Short, D Byron.
At Owen Park, Southport.

Round 14 (Jul 17):
KEDRON          3.4   7.6   11.9  17.13 (115)
SOUTHPORT  4.5  6.11 13.13  15.18 (108)
Southport goals: P Boyce 4, T Tagliabue 2, P Munro 2, D Upfal 2, T O’Connor, Z Separovich, C Crowley, D Byron, L Girardi.
Southport best: Z Taylor, D Byron, T Tagliabue, M Youngs, S Short, A Miles.
At Owen Park, Southport.

Round 15 (Jul 24):
SOUTHPORT               5.7  7.10  13.19  15.20 (110)
WILSTON-GRANGE  4.1  10.6    11.7    14.10 (94)

Southport goals: T Tagliabue 5, P Munro 4, Z Separovich, G McGuane, D  Coombe, P Ives,  D Byron, S Wells.
Southport best: T Tagliabue, Z Taylor, S Short, S Wells, D Coombe, G McGuane.
At Owen Park, Southport.

Round 16 (Jul 31):
SOUTHPORT       5.3  10.7  18.13  26.17 (173)
MORNINGSIDE  2.6    7.8   11.10  17.14 (116)
Southport goals: P Munro 8, Z Separovich 6, T Tagliabue 6, D Byron 3, G McGuane, S Wells, L Girardi.
Southport best: P Guy, P Ives, Z Taylor, T Tagliabue, P Munro, A Bos.
At Owen Park, Southport.

Round 17 (Aug 7):
SOUTHPORT   4.4  11.11 14.13  23.16 (154)
COORPAROO  6.2      7.5   11.7    14.10 (94)
Southport goals: P Munro 5, T Tagliabue 5, Z Separovich 4, G McGuane 3, P Boyce 2, T O’Connor, D Byron,. S Wells, C Gwynne.
Southport best: G McGuane, C Daniels, T Tagliabue, P Munro, Z Taylor, A Bos.
At Owen Park, Southport.

Round 18 (Aug 15):
SOUTHPORT                    0.5   5.10   9.13  18.18 (126)
WINDSOR-ZILLMERE  6.5  10.7  14.12  15.14 (104)
Southport goals: P Boyce 4, T Tagliabue 4, Z Separovich 3, P Munro 2, S Wells 2, G McGuane, C Purcell, C Crowley.
Southport best: P Guy, M Hering, Z Taylor, G McGuane, S Short, G Nuspan.
At O’Callaghan Park, Brisbane.

Qualifying final (Aug 21):
SOUTHPORT  4.1   7.3   10.9  16.14 (110)
SANDGATE     3.9 7.11  7.13     11.14 (80)
Southport goals: T Tagliabue 6, P Munro 4, Z Separovich 3, T O’Connor 2, L Keighran.
Southport best: T Tagliabue, J Cotter, G McGuane, P Guy, S Wells, M Youngs.
At Windsor Park, Brisbane.

Major semi-final (Aug 28):
SOUTHPORT       7.1  11.2  14.4  17.10 (112)
MORNINGSIDE  2.0     5.3    7.7    10.10 (70)
Southport goals: T Tagliabue 5, Z Separovich 3, P Munro 3, C Crowley 2, J Cotter 2, T O’Connor, G McGuane.
Southport best: P Guy, Z Taylor, D Byron, J Cotter, T Tagliabue, S Wells.
At Windsor Park, Brisbane.

Grand final (Sept 11):
SOUTHPORT       3.2   4.5   7.8   13.12 (90)
MORNINGSIDE  3.1   5.1   8.2    12.5   (77)
GOALS: Southport:  P Boyce 2, T Tagliabue 2, P Munro 2, P Guy 2, T O’Connor, G McGuane, P Ives, J Cotter, Z Taylor. Morningside: T Tarrant 3, G Dwyer 2, J Newton 2, W Ledger 2, T Durward, M McGregor, J Willemse.
BEST: Southport: Z Taylor, G McGuane, S Wells, S Short, P Guy, A Bos. Morningside:  R Willet, T Croke, T Tarrant, G Doyle, M Burns, S Ross.
At Windsor Park, Brisbane.