Competing in the North Eastern Australian Football League (NEAFL), the season comprised of the following program:
- Preseason pre-Christmas training November – December 2014 (6 sessions.)
- Preseason post-Christmas January – February 2015 (5 sessions)
- Club Camp at Byron Bay incorporating club culture, leadership and physical training.
- Trial games through March.
- Season proper: April – August including seven travels; three to Sydney (one Final), one to Darwin, two to Canberra and one to Alice Springs
Season 2015 saw us bringing together AFL players along with talent pools from interstate and local, including the now-QAFL teams (Palm Beach, Broadbeach and Labrador) and combining them with existing Southport players and an all new coaching panel. These strategies bolstered the player listing to a level that we have not seen at the club for the last few years.
The group was certainly fit and healthy come round one and the team, consisting of a full NEAFL listing, jumped out of the blocks with a first up win over Brisbane Lions at Palm Beach Currumbin. This venue was chosen for a NEAFL game as it was a community awareness match that was supported by NEAFL, Sharks and Brisbane Lions.
With no reserve grade, or as we prefer to call it our ‘development squad’, the logistical challenge still remains with any players out of our 35-man squad who did not make our first 23 (the 23rd player as a Rookie) being distributed to the Gold Coast Suns reserves team and/or QAFL affiliate teams in Palm Beach-Currumbin, Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise and Labrador.
This format certainly has its challenges, and it was essential that lines of communication with all these stakeholders remained at a consistent level on a weekly basis, in particular with Gold Coast Suns as they have first call on the remaining Sharks listing. This assisted in maintaining strong relationships and therefore making the transition of our players that much smoother.
Injuries persisted early in the year and undoubtedly did not assist our competitiveness as they all occurred in the first half of the season. Although playing all AFL teams in the first six rounds with three interstate travels, we were on the board with eight wins / four losses in an 18 game home-and-away roster. Unfortunately, we finished the season with six losses.
Congratulations to all trophy winners for Season 2015 and also to Wayde Mills for his 100 games and Jason Burge for his 150 games and Player Life Membership.
At the end of the prior season, the Football Sub-Committee recommended to the Board, which was duly accepted, that Nathan Bock (former Gold Coast Suns & Adelaide Crows player) be appointed as Senior Coach for Season 2015. Additionally, Josh Hunt (former Geelong & GWS player) and Jack Anthony (former Collingwood & Fremantle player) were appointed as Playing Assistant Coaches. We were also fortunate to secure the services of Jarrod Brennan (former Brisbane Lions & Gold Coast Suns player) and with these personnel, we saw an increase in culture to the training and on-field aspects of our game.
Other off-field staff who played roles supporting Nathan and the players while always remaining positive, were our coaching staff Dane Carmody, Jason Cotter, Royce Enders (Jason and Royce on Game Days) and Jim Barrett, along with Paul McRobert and physio Sara Williams, who worked with our club doctor and President, Dr Alan Mackenzie. We cannot forget our team of trainers led by Sara Mengel, who worked tirelessly in keeping the players in good shape for game day every week.
In 2016, the NEAFL competition has been reduced further, migrating from 11 teams in Season 2015, to 10 teams in 2016. This will again condense talent within the respective areas that NEAFL covers, plus competing against talent pools from AFL lists in GWS, Sydney Swans, Gold Coast Suns and Brisbane Lions.
In the junior competition, we extend our congratulations to all Southport Juniors sides that competed in Season 2015, in addition to the coaches and support personnel for the Under 19’s who made it to the Grand Final.