Oh, Danny Boy: Brennan becomes the first to complete the three-grades premiership sweep

IT remains one of Southport’s great mysteries that a coach who masterminded a record-winning grand final margin did not get the nod to go for back-to-back flags the following season.

After having a hand in five premierships in under-19s and reserve grades after moving to the Gold Coast in his position as bank manager, Danny Brennan completed the journey by taking the Sharks seniors to a QSFL flag in his second season in top division.

This year was also notable for Southport fielding sides in two competitions and the first approach by the club to gain an AFL licence.

When the new QSFL (replacing the financially stricken QAFL) was formed, it took in three Gold Coast clubs – Southport, Labradorand Broadbeach – leaving the GCAFL with only five clubs.

So Southport ran seniors and reserves sides in the GCAFL, wearing the old Collingwood strip of black and white Magpie stripes and with Brett Thompson as coach.

The side made the finals with a number of name players, such as Matt McGuirk, David Klep and Mark Smith joining Thompson in the foundation strip.

But at State League level, Southport at last had some local derbys to play in. They thrashed Broadbeach by 74 points in round 4 andLabrador by 70 points in round 5, both away from Musgrave Hill, giving the new boys on the block a clear indication of how tough life was going to be in the top tier of State League.

The Sharks had Shaun Coughlan from Wodonga, Marc Woolnough (Surferfs Paradise juniors) made his debut this season, ex-St Kilda forward Craig Davenport also signed and the coach’s sons Jeff and Rick, were also on the playing roster.

It was a pretty good list Brennan had at his disposal, especially with Brent Green and Rod Mackay still there.
Classy redheaded midfielder, Richard Maloney also moved to the Gold Coast from VFL premiership club Sandringham.

Coughlan added to an imposing Southport attack which still featured Green and McKay as the spearheads.
Shaun Ballans also signed from Lara and the Sharks had Brisbane-listed four of Steven Lawrence, Matt Kennedy, Michael McLean and Scott Bamford available as well.

Class defender Scott Lawton also returned after a stint with Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong in western NSW.
Among the ‘names’ signed was Jason Warne, younger brother of cricket great Shane Warne.

It was significant that seven of Brennan’s 1997 side went on to be named in Southport’s best of 25 years of state league side.

After a mid-season mini-slump, when they were soundly beaten away by Northern Eagles and Morningside, the Sharks regrouped and completed the premiership with 13 successive wins.

It was not all smooth sailing, however because, after nine rounds, flashy forward Rod McKay was sensationally sacked by the club. McKay, who walked off the ground at three-quarter time of a reserve grade match, was cleared to play for Broadbeach. He kicked 6.5 in his first match with the Cats.

The grand final team was:
Backs: Craig Mansbridge, Lincoln Hughes, David Johnston.
Half-backs: Ian Dargie, Scott Lawton, Dean Bowtell.
Centres: Scott Bamford, Shaun Ballans, Gavin Chesser.
Half-forwards: Fabian Webb, Sean Coughlan, Ricky Brennan.
Forwards: Brent Green, Craig Wilson, Nick Mansbridge.
Rucks: Brad McMahon, Jeff Brennan, David Bain.
Interchange: Marc Woolnough, Rod Brewster, Richard Maloney.

Grand final details:
SOUTHPORT     8.2  13.5  17.7  26.13 (169)
MT GRAVATT  1.2     5.3  10.5      11.9 (75)
GOALS: Southport: C Wilson 6, S Bamford 4, B Green 4, F Webb 4, R Bremnnan 3, D Bain 2, D Bowtell, S Ballans, M Woolnough, B McMahon. Mt Gravatt: A Bruni 5, D Wirth 2,  J Carter 2, S Lanyon, S Diehm.
BEST: Southport: S Ballans, S Bamford, F Webb, C Mansbridge, I Dargie, R Maloney. Mt Gravatt: B Jones, D Keck, D Hunter, S Dupuy, B  Dobbs,A Bruni.
At Windsor Park, Brisbane.

Season details: Games played 24, won 21, lost 3.
Best and fairest: Jeff Brennan.
Grogan Medal: Jeff Brennan.

Joe Grant Medal: Scott Bamford.
Leading goalkicker: Brent Green (59).
 Won Lightning premiership, beating Palm Beach-Currumbin in the final at Dittmer Park, Brisbane.


Round 1 (Apr 5):
SOUTHPORT         11.3  14.8  19.11  22.15 (147)
WEST BRISBANE  2.0     5.4      7.6      9.11 (65)

Southport goals: G Hayes-Dewar 5, R Brennan 5, B Green 3, C Devonport 2, R Mackay 2, J Brennan, S Duthie.
Southport best: S Lawton, G Hayes-Dewar, J Brennan, D Milne, C Devonport, R Brennan.
At Chelmer Oval, Brisbane.

Round 2 (Apr 12):
SOUTHPORT       2.6  4.9  8.11  12.14 (86)
MORNINGSIDE  1.1  5.5    6.7     6.12 (48)

Southport goals: S Stephens 2, D Bain 2, R Maloney, R Brennan, G Hayes-Dewar, B Green, S Coughlan, R Mackay, D Johnston.
Southport best: S Duthie, D Bain, D Johnston, J Brennan, S Coughlan, S Lawton.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 3 (Apr 19):
SOUTHPORT      7.3  12.3  15.5  19.5 (119)
NTHN EAGLES  1.0     2.1    4.2      7.3 (45)

Southport goals: R Mackay 7, C Davenport 4, S Young 2, D Bain 2, M Woolnough, R Brennan, S Duthie, J Brennan.
Southport best: C Mansbridge, J Brennan, R Mackay, L Hughes, D Bowtell, D Bain.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 4 (Apr 26):
SOUTHPORT       4.3  10.8  12.10  16.15 (111)
BROADBEACH  1.1     3.2      4.6        5.7 (37)

Southport goals: B Green 5, R Mackay 3, R Brennan 2, S Duthie 2, C Devonport 2, S Coughlan, S Young.
Southport best: S Lawton, D Bowtell, G Chesser, B Green, R Maloney, J Brennan.
At Merrimac Oval, Broadbeach Waters.

Round 5 (May 3):
SOUTHPORT  2.6  6.9  9.17  17.21 (123)
LABRADOR    2.6  3.8   5.8       7.11 (53)
Southport goals: S Duthie 4, B Green 4, S Young 3, R Brennan 2, S Bamford 3, J Brennan, C Davenport.
Southport best: S Coughlan, N Mansbridge, J Brennan, S Young, S Lawton, D Bain.
At Cooke-Murphy Oval, Labrador.

Round 6 (May 10):
MT GRAVATT  4.1  8.5  11.7  12.7 (79)
SOUTHPORT     3.2  3.5    6.7    8.9 (57)

Southport goals: S Coughlan 3, R Maloney 2, S Duthie, D Bain, D Milne.
Southport best:  G Chesser, D Bain, D Milne, S Coughlan, M McLean, R Maloney.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 7 May 17):
SOUTHPORT  9.3  14.6  18.13  26.17 (173)
MAYNE           0.1     0.1     1.3           1.3 (9)

Southport goals: B Green 5, S Duthie 4, S Ballans 4, S Young 3, S Bamford 3, R Brennan 2, C Davenport 2, I Dargie, S Stephens, S Coughlan.
Southport best: R Maloney, S Ballans, S Coughlan, J Brennan, R Brennan, C Mansbridge.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 8 (May 24):
SOUTHPORT           7.4  8.11  10.14  13.14 (92)
WEST BRISBANE  2.1    4.2       5.3      8.3 (51)
Southport goals: S Coughlan 4, J Brennan 2, D Bain 2, B Green 2, S Young, C Davenport, S Stephens, M Kennedy.
Southport best: J Brennan, D Bowtell, S Ballans, S Coughlan, I Dargie, D Bain.
At Chelmer Oval, Brisbane.

Round 9 (Jun 31):
MORNINGSIDE  5.2  7.4  13.6   17.7 (109)
SOUTHPORT       1.5  5.8    8.9  10.10 (76)
Southport goals: S Duthie 2,  C Davenport 2, R Kavanagh 2, R Brennan 2, S Bamford, S Coughlan.
Southport best: C Davenport, S Ballans, B McMahon, R Brennan, D Bowtell.
At Esplen Oval, Brisbane.

Round 10 (Jun 8):
NTHN EAGLES  1.3  10.4  14.5  18.8 (116)
SOUTHPORT       4.1   6.3     8.6   10.8 (68)

Southport goals: J Warne 2, R Maloney 2, J Brennan, R Brennan, S Duthie, D Bain, C Wilson, B Green.
Southport best: D Bowtell, I Dargie, S Ballans, B McMahon, D Johnston.
At O’Callaghan Park, Brisbane.

Round 11 (Jun 15):
SOUTHPORT       3.3  8.6  12.10  17.12 (114)
BROADBEACH  4.4  5.4     10.6      13.9 (97)

Southport goals: S Bamford 3, G Chesser 2, C Davenport 2, S Coughlan 2, C Wilson 2, N Mansbridge 2, R Brennan, J Brennan, S Lawrence.
Southport best: S Bamford, S Lawton, S Lawrence, D Bain, G Chesser, J Brennan.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 12 (Jun 22):
SOUTHPORT  7.1  13.3  18.6  25.9 (159)
LABRADOR    1.0    1.1    1.4      4.4 (16)

Southport goals: R Brennan 5, S Lawrence 4, S Coughlan 3, C Wilson 3, G Chesser 2, R Maloney, J Brennan, S Ballans, D Bain, D Johnston, N Mansbridge, M Kennedy, B McMahon.
Southport best: R Brennan, N Mansbridge, D Johnston, S Lawrence, D Bain, M Kennedy.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 13 (Jun 28):
SOUTHPORT     5.1  10.1  10.9  13.15 (93)
MT GRAVATT  3.1    5.1     5.1      5.3 (33)

Southport goals: C Wilson 6, R Brennan 3, S Lawrence 2, G Chesser, S Ballans, S Coughlan.
Southport best: L Hughes, D Bowtell, S Ballans, S Lawton, S Lawrence, G Chesser.
At Dittmer Park, Brisbane.

Round 14 (Jul 5):
SOUTHPORT           7.4  14.5  19.10  22.15 (147)
WEST BRISBANE  2.1     3.4      3.4        9.8 (62)

Southport goals: B Green 6, S Coughlan 4, C Davenport 3, C Wilson 3, D Bain 2, S Bamford 2, J Brennan, S Duthie.
Southport best: N Mansbridge, J Brennan, B Green, D Bain, D Johnston, C Davenport.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 15 (Jul 19):
SOUTHPORT       4.6  6.9  13.12  19.15 (119)
MORNINGSIDE  1.0  2.4       2.7      3.11 (29)

Southport goals: B Green 7, D Bain 3, S Coughlan 3, C Davenport 2, S Duthie, C Mansbridge, N Mansbridge, M Woolnough.
Southport best: B Green, D Bain, J Brennan, S Ballans, L Hughes, C Mansbridge.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Round 16 (Jul 27):
SOUTHPORT      2.0  4.2    9.6    13.8 (86)
NTHN EAGLES  4.5  7.7  8.10  12.12 (84)
Southport goals: C Wilson 4, D Bain 2, S Coughlan 2, S Bamford 2, B Green, R Brennan, F Webb.
Southport best: M Kennedy, C Mansbridge, L Hughes, D Bain, N Mansbnridge, C Wilson.
At O’Callaghan Park, Brisbane.

Round 17 (Aug 2):
SOUTHPORT       5.5  7.8  10.11  16.13 (109)
BROADBEACH  2.0  4.2       7.5         8.7 (55)

Southport goals: G Hayes-Dewar 4, B Green 4, S Young 3, J Brennan, F Webb, N Mansbridge, M Woolnough.
Southport best: F Webb, S Ballans, L Hughes, C Mansbridge, D Johnston, B McMahon.
At Merrimac Oval, Broadbeach Waters.

Round 18 (Aug 9):
SOUTHPORT  7.4  13.8  16.15  22.16 (148)
LABRADOR    1.3    3.4      5.7      5.10 (40)

Southport goals: C Wilson 7, R Brennan 4, B Green 3, S Coughlan 2, D Bowtell, G Chesser, F Webb, S Ballans, D Bain, B McMahon.
Southport best: C Mansbridge, D Bowtell, R Brennan, C Wilson, B McMahon, S Ballans.
At Cooke-Murphy Oval, Labrador.

Round 19 (Aug 16):
SOUTHPORT     6.5  9.9  12.12  16.13 (109)
MT GRAVATT  2.2  5.5       6.5    11.10 (76)
Southport goals: C Wilson 9, S Duthie 2, S Coughlan 2, D Bowtell, J Brennan, G Chesser.
Southport best: J Brennan, C Wilson, B McMahon, D Bowtell, S Lawton, M Woolnough.
At the Gabba, Brisbane.

Round 20 (Aug 23):
SOUTHPORT  7.2  15.10  24.11  34.18 (222)
MAYNE            2.2      2.       6.5         6.7 (43)

Southport goals: B Green 9, R Brennan 5, F Webb 5, S Coughlan 4, J Brennan 2, S Ballans 2, N Mansbridge 2, D Bowtell, G Chesser, S Duthie, C Mansbridge, C Wilson.
Southport best: M Woolnough, S Coughlan, B Green, S Ballans, R Maloney, D Bowtell.
At Fankhauser Reserve, Musgrave Hill.

Second semi-final (Sept 7):
SOUTHPORT    3.3  5.7  8.8  12.9 (81)
MT GRAVATT  2.2  3.4  7.8  9.10 (64)

Southport goals: J Brennan 2, N Mansbridge 2, C Wilson 2, R Brennan, C Davenport, B Green, F Webb.
Southport best: S Ballans, N Mansbridge, I Dargie, M Woolnough, D Bowtell, R Brennan.
At Merrimac Oval, Broadbeach Waters.

Grand final (Sept 21):
SOUTHPORT     8.2  13.5  17.7  26.13 (169)
MT GRAVATT  1.2     5.3  10.5      11.9 (75)

Southport goals: C Wilson 6, S Bamford 4, B Green 4, F Webb 4, R Brennan 3, D Bain 2, D Bowtell, S Ballans, M Woolnough, B McMahon.
Southport best: S Ballans, S Bamford, F Webb, C Mansbridge, I Dargie, R Maloney.
At Windsor Park, Brisbane.