The Sharks go through another frustrating season – then bid farewell to their super benefactor

SECOND-season coach Mark Browning completed a busy recruiting campaign by getting a quartet of ex-AFL players into the Black V with Southport.

David Bain (West Coast/Brisbane/Fitzroy), Ian Dargie (West Coast/St Kilda), David Johnston (Essendon/Fitzroy) and Chris Wittman (Hawthorn/St Kilda) were seen as the linchpins for a return to power of the Sharks.

Given the Sharks lured defender David Klep from Labrador and also signed Rod Mackay from VFL club Williamstown, and optimism that the Sharks were ready to return to the top of the pile was understandable.

As well, Dean McMahon was signed from Surfers Paradise and Tim Deacon from Palm Beach-Currumbin, and stars such as Craig Mansbridge, Dean Bowtell, Matt McGuirk and Shaun Smith were still on the books.

And joining the Sharks from Gold Coast rivals were promising types in Trent Simpson, Dean Parkinson and Jamie Pilcher.

Yet the side, like its 1994 predecessors, failed to flatter.

Missing from the playing roster was flamboyant Warwick Capper and club champion Jason Cotter was also an off-season departure, leaving a year after another club champion Craig Crowley had moved over to Surfers Paradise in the GCAFL.

Cotter took over as captain-coach with Palm Beach-Currumbin and was to build on his remarkable record as a player as he embarked on a career in coaching.

It was perhaps a sign of things to come when the Sharks fielded 14 new faces for the season opener, due to injuries and hold-ups in clearances.

Still, the Sharks won their first three games and things looked promising for Browning, who had appointed Wittman as captain.

Then, in a stunning development in the dressing sheds after a round five loss to North Brisbane at O’Callaghan Park, big key position utility Michael Walsh – who was clearly unhappy during the pre-season build-up – threw his jumper on to the floor and walked out of the club, never to return.

(Walsh subsequently joined Broadbeach where he became a club captain and best and fairest winner).
Over a frustrating season, the Sharks won 11 and lost eight. They finished fourth for the four-team finals, but lost the elimination first semi by four points to Mt Gravatt.

As was the case for Browning in 1994, he could not get a team studded with experience up to the mark.
So, at the end of the season, Browning parted company with the Sharks, the only coach not to have taken Southport to a grand final and the only coach not to have won a finals match with the club.

An ordinary year then ended sadly for the club when chief benefactor Wally Fankhauser died on December 11th.

The man who tipped in $2 milllion to set up the social facility at the venue named in his honour, suffered a massive stroke at home after mowing the football oval on his tractor, preparing the ground for a cricket match.
His funeral service was held in a marquee erected in the middle of the footy ground that he almost single-handedly shaped and paid for.

It was a fitting farewell for the man they called ‘Dad’.

Season details: Games played 19, won 11, lost 8.
Best and fairest: David Bain.
Leading goalkicker: Rod McKay (38).
d Gold Coast 16.6 (102) to 14.16 (100) at Fankhauser Reserve (lights).

*(FOOTNOTE: Craig Crowley and Jason Cotter clashed for the first time as captain-coaches when Surfers played Palm Beach-Currumbin. Cotter’s Lions scored by a point after a late 50-metre penalty in their favour).


Round 1 (Mar 25):
SOUTHPORT     4.2  11.4  11.8  18.13 (121)
MT GRAVATT  4.2     4.2  10.3      15.8 (98)
Southport goals: R Mackay 5, C Richardson 4, C Black 2, T Deacon, N Whittaker 2, S Stephens, D Bain, A Turner.
Southport best: C Wittman, C Richardson, P Baker, M McGuirk, N Whittaker, D Bain.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 2 bye

Round 3 (Apr 9):
SOUTHPORT           5.2   5.3  9.12  12.14 (86)
WEST BRISBANE  1.2  8.11  8.13  11.18 (84)
Southport goals: D O’Keeffe 4, C Wittman 2, S Lawrence 2, S Stephens, R Mackay, C Richardson, A Turner
Southport best: P Baker, M McGuirk, T Deacon, S Lawrence, D McMahon, S Stephens.
At the Gabba, Brisbane.

Round 4 (Apr 14):
SOUTHPORT              3.4  9.5  10.8  12.11 (83)
KEDRON-GRANGE  4.2  5.9   6.12    8.14 (62)

Southport goals: C Black 2, R Mackay 2, D O’Keeffe 2, M Dibiase, M McGuirk, B Green, T Deacon, T Simpson, P Baker.
Southport best: T Simpson, B Green, P Baker, R Thompson, W Anthony, M McGuirk.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 5 (Apr 20):
NORTH BRISBANE  2.3  5.8  8.13  11.16 (82)
SOUTHPORT              3.3  7.5   8.8  10.13 (73)

Southport goals: R Mackay 3, M Dibiase 2, D O’Keeffe 2, D Johnston 2, D Bain.
Southport best: R Thompson, M Walsh, R McKay, D O’Keeffe, D McMahon.
At O’Callaghan Park, Brisbane.

Round 6 (Apr 29):
SOUTHPORT  4.6  6.10  10.12  14.19 (103)
MAYNE            2.1   4.4      5.4        8.9 (57)

Southport goals: T Deacon 5, D Johnston 2, C Black, M Dibiase, I Dargie, R Mackay, D O’Keeffe, T Simpson, M Kennedy.
Southport best: D Johnston, S Stephens, D Bain, T Deacon, D Parkinson, D McMahon.
At Windsor Park, Brisbane.

Round 7 (May 6):
SOUTHPORT       2.4  6.5    9.5  14.10 (94)
MORNINGSIDE  3.1  6.3  11.5    12.7 (79)

Southport goals: D Bain 4, R Mackay 3, D O’Keeffe 3, T Deacon 2, C Wittman, I Dargie.
Southport best: M McGuirk, D Bain, I Dargie, S Stephens, D Parkinson, D McMahon.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 8 (May 13):
MT GRAVATT  3.3  4.7  9.13  12.16 (88)
SOUTHPORT     3.3  6.6    8.9  10.12 (82)

Southport goals: T Deacon 2, D Johnston 2, C Black, I Dargie, S Stephens, D O’Keeffe, W Anthony, M Kennedy.
Southport best: M Kennedy, D McMahon, C Black, P Baker, D Bain, W Anthony.
At Dittmer Park, Brisbane.

Round 9 bye

Round 10 (May 27):
WEST BRISBANE  1.4  4.5  4.11  8.14 (62)
SOUTHPORT          1.5  2.9  4.15  7.17 (59)
Southport goals: M McGuirk 2, B Green, T Deacon, R Mackay, D Johnston.
Southport best: M McGuirk, T Simpson, C Black, D Johnston, D Bain, N Mansbridge.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 11 (Jun 4):
KEDRON-GRANGE  3.3  8.6  9.12  14.14 (98)
SOUTHPORT              0.4  4.7   7.7     7.12 (54)

Southport goals: R Mackay 3, C Wittman, S Stephens, D McMahon, C Richardson.
Southport best: D Bowtell, C Mansbridge, M McGuirk.
At Anderson Oval, Brisbane.

Round 12 (Jun 12):
NORTH BRISBANE  1.1  6.5  12.9  16.15 (111)
SOUTHPORT              4.1  7.2  10.5   12.10 (82)

Southport goals: R Mackay 5, M McGuirk, P Oldham, N Whittaker, D Johnston, D Bain, M Smith, A Turner.
At the Gabba, Brisbane.

Round 13 (Jun 17):
SOUTHPORT  2.5  4.8  11.11  15.17 (107)
MAYNE            0.3  3.5      5.6        8.9 (57)
Southport goals: B Green 5, M Smith 3, N Lappin 2, I Dargie 2, D Johnston, S Young, C Richardson, D Bain.
Southport best: B Green, M Smith, N Mansbridge, D McMahon, R Thompson, S Stephens.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 14 (Jun 25):
MORNINGSIDE  5.2  7.7  12.9  19.15 (129)
SOUTHPORT       1.3  5.8    9.9    10.13 (73)
Southport goals: C Richardson 3, J Parkinson 3, A Lawson 2, D Klep, M Smith.
Southport best: S Stephens, A Lawson, D MaMahon, C Richardson, N Mansbridge, I Dargie.
At the Gabba, Brisbane.

Round 15 (Jul 8):
SOUTHPORT     4.2  5.7  6.8  7.11 (53)
MT GRAVATT  2.3  3.5  5.8  7.10 (52)

Southport goals: M Smith 2, C Richardson 2, R Thompson, D Williams, N Mansbridge.
Southport best: C Black, S Stephens, R Thompson, D Bain, I Dargie, N Mansbridge.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 16 bye

Round 17 (Jul 22):
SOUTHPORT           7.5  12.5  15.14  16.18 (114)
WEST BRISBANE  2.2    8.3     14.3    16.4 (100)
Southport goals: B Green 5, D Bain 4, M Smith 2, M Kennedy 2, S Young, C Richardson, D Klep.
Southport best: D Bain, D McMahon, D Johnston, I Dargie, N Mansbridge, B Greenwood.
At Chelmer Oval, Brisbane.

Round 18 (Jul 29):
SOUTHPORT                6.9  8.12  15.18  19.22 (136)
KEDRON-GRANGE  2.1    4.7     7.12    10.13 (73)
Southport goals: B Green 6, C Wittman 3, D Johnston 2, D Bain 2, N Mansbridge 2, C Black, I Dargie, C Mansbridge, S Young.
Southport best: D Bain, D Bowtell, T Oldenhof, R Thompson, C Mansbridge, S Young.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 19 (Aug 6):
NORTH BRISBANE  5.4  7.7  12.10  18.17 (125)
SOUTHPORT              0.3  7.5   10.7      15.8 (98)

Southport goals: B Green 5, R Mackay 3, C Richardson 2, C Wittman, C Mansbridge, S Stephens, M Smith, D Bain.
Southport best: D Bowtell, B Green, D Bain, T Oldenhof, S Stephens, M Smith.
At O’Callaghan Park, Brisbane.

Round 20 (Aug 13):
SOUTHPORT  5.3  10.5  16.8  20.12 (132)
MAYNE             1.1   4.5    6.9      6.14 (50)

Southport goals:  B Green 5, C Mansbridge 3, M Smith 3, D Bain 2, I Dargie 2, R Mackay 2, T Oldenhof, D Johnston.
Southport best: S Stephens, I Dargie, C Black, B Green, N Mansbridge, C Mansbridge.
At Windsor Park, Brisbane .

Round 21 (Aug 19):
SOUTHPORT       3.1  6.6    8.11  16.19 (115)
MORNINGSIDE  3.2  8.6  10.11    11.13 (79)
Southport goals: R Mackay 6, M Smith 5, C Wittman, S Stephens, N Lenton, D Johnston, N Mansbridge.
Southport best: M Smith, S Stephens, C Black, D Johnston, R Thompson, R McKay.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill (lights).

First semi-final (Aug 26):
MT GRAVATT  3.4  9.5  12.6  13.10 (88)
SOUTHPORT     3.3  7.7    9.9  12.12 (84)
Southport goals: R Mcacky 4, M Smith 3, B Green 2, N Lenton 2, D Bain.
Southport best: C Black, C Mansbridge, C Wittman, R Thompson, S Stephens, M Smith.
At the Gabba, Brisbane.