2020 will be remembered as a historic year for the club. The COVID-19 pandemic affected the club in many ways including the cancellation of the NEAFL season. The club was able to field a senior women’s team for the first time ever, resulting in a fantastic Premiership win!
The NEAFL season was postponed and then eventually cancelled in June. The challenge of interstate travel, combined with the AFL clubs’ inability to play against State League club concept, was too great and the season was abandoned. This was a disappointing decision for the playing group but completely understandable in the circumstances. Many players chose to play on permit in the South East Queensland based QAFL competition, while others opted to take the year off. 2020 would be the first season since 1961 that Southport Sharks were unable to field a senior men’s team.
Along with the cancellation of the NEAFL season, 2020 will also be remembered for the tragic loss of Alex Aurrichio. His loss was felt across all his Australian clubs and his Darwin funeral was live-streamed around the world. He set fitness benchmarks that may never be equalled at our club and his #11 guernsey was retired for the 2020 and 2021 seasons of senior footy, both male and female.
Former Shark Jake Ryan was also tragically killed on 13th October. A survivor of the 2002 Bali Bombings while on Southport’s football trip, a Surfers Paradise junior, Jake played at numerous clubs around the country. He will always be remembered for his elite fitness levels and for winning multiple Best and Fairest awards.
Contrary to the disappointment of the men’s season, the club was able to field a senior women’s team for the first time in the club’s history and participated in the QFAW Division 1 competition. 2018 Sharks NEAFL Premiership star Ryan Davis was appointed Senior Coach and training began in January.
Hannah Davies and Eloise O’Brien were named as Co-Captains and former Southport Junior Emily Stewart was named Vice-Captain. The season began on 11th July with Sharks taking on Surfers Paradise at the latter’s home field. A last quarter fade out saw the team lose the first game but a lot was learned on the night and a string of victories would follow. Wins over Morningside, Broadbeach, Robina, Kedron, Moreton Bay and Burleigh preceded the Round 8 Bye. A final round victory over bottom side Mt Gravatt would see Sharks earn a week off, a record score of 20.10.130, the top spot with 7 wins from 8 games and a percentage of 477.46%.
A home Preliminary Final against Kedron saw Sharks run out 17 point winners and a Grand Final berth had been secured where we would take on Surfers Paradise, the only team to defeat us during the home and away season.
Bond University was the Grand Final venue for a 4.30pm twilight game. After a slow start, Sharks wrested control and opened up a two goal advantage at three-quarter time. Surfers were coming home with the aid of a breeze but a well-prepared Sharks outfit defended like their lives depended on it and hung on for a five-point win! The match details were as follows;
Southport 1.2.8 3.2.20 4.3.27 4.3.27
Surfers Paradise 2.0.12 2.2.14 2.3.15 3.4.22
Goals – H.Davies 2, V.Winstanley 1, E.O’Brien 1.
Best – E.O’Brien, G.Davies, J.Bollman, M.Watt, H.Davies, E.Beck.
Grand Final MVP – Eloise O’Brien
Leading Goal Kicker – Hannah Davies (15)
Best & Fairest – Eloise O’Brien
Best Finals Player – Giselle Davies
Most Courageous Player – Maddy Watt
Most Improved Player – Tatum Shaw
We would like to thank the following people who volunteered their time to make the season possible:
Blair Cearns – Women’s Football Co-Ordinator Ryan Davis – Senior Coach Peter Doherty – Assistant Coach Matt Palmer – Assistant Coach / S&C Coach Fraser Thurlow – Assistant S&C Coach Mia Dockrey – Sports Science Ashlee Flick – Rotations Andrew Gross – Head Trainer Scott James – Physiotherapist Dr. Tom McWilliams – Team Doctor James McLaren – Runner Eric Eller – Goal Umpire Graham Dransfield – Time Keeper