Full nameSouthport Australian Football Club
2023 season
Home-and-away season14th
Club details
Founded1961; 62 years ago (1961)
CompetitionVFL: Senior men
QAFLW: Senior women
PresidentClayton Glenister
CoachStephen Daniel
Captain(s)Michael Manteit and Jacob Dawson
Ground(s)Fankhauser Reserve (8,000)
Other information

The Southport Australian Football Club, nicknamed the Sharks, is an Australian rules football club based on the Gold Coast, Queensland, that competes in the Victorian Football League (VFL).

Southport is one of the most successful football clubs in Queensland, having claimed 22 senior-grade premierships across multiple competitions since it was established in 1961. It competed in the Gold Coast Australian Football League between 1961 and 1982, and then moved to the Queensland Australian Football League. In 2011 the club was elevated to the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL), before finally being accepted into the Victorian Football League following the NEAFL's cessation in 2019. Since 2020 Southport has fielded a senior women's team in Division 1 of the QAFLW competition; the club won its inaugural women's premiership in 2020.[1][2]


See also: History of Australian rules football on the Gold Coast

Formation and early GCAFL years (1961–1982)

On 22 May 1961, the Southport Australian Football Club was formed and six days later the first training session was held at Labrador Sports Oval. It was revealed on 7 June 1961 that the club would be known on as the Southport Magpies and would wear a black and white vertical striped jumper similar to the Collingwood Football Club. In front of 1,000 spectators, Southport played their first ever game against Centrals Football Club on 25 June 1961. Southport came out victorious in their first outing 8.10.58 to Central's 6.11.47. They would then go on to win the first ever Gold Coast Australian Football League premiership with a 13-point victory over Ipswich on 25 September 1961.

With the expansion of the Gold Coast Australian Football League starting in 1962, Southport moved their home ground to Owen Park, Southport. Southport won back-to-back premierships in the first two years of the Gold Coast Australian Football League, defeating Currumbin by 53 points to win their second premiership. Following a series of local premierships, the club applied for entry into the Queensland Australian Football League in July 1981. Twelve months later, the Queensland Australian Football League officially accepted Southport's entry application for the 1983 season. In their last game as part of the Gold Coast Football League, the Southport Magpies fell in the Grand Final to Coolangatta by 28 points. The disappointment of the Grand Final loss was short lived as the rebranding from the Southport Magpies to the Southport Sharks began. The strip was changed to a black V on a white background to avoid an identity conflict with the Sherwood Magpies, who later became the Western Magpies. The decision as to which club would retain the "Magpies" moniker was made by the toss of a coin.

New competitions (1983–)

Queensland Australian Football League (1983–1999)

Upon entrance into the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL), the newly formed Southport Sharks were given little chance of success against the predominantly Brisbane based competition. In their first game of the 1983 season, the Sharks walked away winners with a victory over the Western Districts. They would compile a 12–6 win–loss record during the home and away season. The Sharks going undefeated through the 1983 finals series and would win the Grand Final by 13 points over Morningside. The Sharks would continue to prove themselves through the 80s with another three premierships added to their trophy cabinet as well as two runners-up. Early in 1989, the Sharks moved their headquarters to their current ground Fankhauser Reserve.

The club continued their dominance with an unbeaten season in 1990 but the club's financial woes were a big issue following a Grand Final loss in 1991. The club almost abandoned the QAFL late in 1991 to re-enter the Gold Coast Australian Football League, but Queensland's introduction of poker machines would secure the financial future of the Sharks. By 1995 the Sharks had reached 20,000 members began to lead the charge for a second Queensland team entering the Australian Football League. In 1996, the Sharks made their first bid to the AFL for inclusion in the national league, which was rejected by the AFL in favour of the Port Adelaide Football Club's elevation from the SANFL. After which, the club continued to lobby for a licence.

Following the AFL's rejection of the Sharks into the national league, the Sharks would set out to prove just how good they really were. The team would win three premierships in a row in 1997, 1998 and 1999 to finish off the millennium with success. In 1999 the Sharks were able to poach future St Kilda Saints star Nick Riewoldt from their cross-town rivals Broadbeach Cats, although Riewoldt would not compete for the Sharks senior side until 2000.

New Millennium and Dominance (2000–2010)

The Sharks would enter the 2000 season as the raging favourites to take out a fourth consecutive premiership. Soon to be number 1 AFL draft pick Nick Riewoldt would play a huge role in their Grand Final victory over the Northern Eagles. Riewoldt would be kept virtually touchless in the first half when matching up against future Brisbane Lions player Jamie Charman. Riewoldt was moved to ruck and would go on to kick two goals in the Sharks Grand Final victory. The four consecutive premierships would be Southport's last taste of success for five years as the club entered a rebuilding phase. Former AFL player Paul Dimattina pulled on the Sharks guernsey in 2005 and would lead the team to their first premiership in five years. The Sharks would continue their success with another three Grand Finals between 2006 and 2008 in which the Sharks would come away with two more premierships. In November 2010 it was announced the Sharks would be joining the newly formed North East Australian Football League which included four AFL reserves sides and local teams spread throughout Canberra, New South Wales, Northern Territory and Queensland.

North East Australian Football League (2011–2020)

The Sharks put together a 9–9 win–loss record in the 2011 NEAFL season but missed the finals series by percentage, their first non-finals season ever. The Sharks finished the 2012 NEAFL season with a 14–4 win–loss record and were placed third on the ladder. In the qualifying final, the Sharks fell to the Brisbane Lions reserves team but recorded their first NEAFL finals victory over Redland the following week. The Sharks faced the Northern Territory Thunder in the preliminary finals but lost by 37 points.

The club won its first and only NEAFL premiership in controversial circumstances in 2018, defeating Sydney reserves in the Grand Final. Southport dominated the game, and led 12.4 (76) to 2.4 (16) at three-quarter time, but then accidentally sent nineteen men onto the field to start the final quarter. Sydney called for a head count after twenty seconds and the extra man was discovered, which would traditionally have resulted in Southport's score being re-set to zero for the final quarter; however, officials determined that since the breach had an immaterial effect on the game, Southport would retain its score and the only penalty would be a free kick and fifty metre penalty, resulting in one Sydney goal. Southport went on to win 14.6 (90) to 5.5. (35).[3]

Victorian Football League (2021–)

Following the cessation of the NEAFL in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Southport were granted entry into an expanded Victorian Football League for the 2021 season.[4] The Sharks found success quickly in the VFL by compiling a 9–1 record throughout the 2021 season and qualified for the finals in second position on the ladder but were unable to compete any further due to the August–October Victorian COVID-19 lockdown.[5] Southport continued their dominance in the 2022 VFL season by winning 13 of 18 games and became the first Queensland-based club to qualify for the VFL Grand Final where they were defeated by the Casey Demons at Ikon Park.[6]


Broadbeach Cats

One of the most intense rivalries in local Queensland football exists between the neighbouring clubs in the form of the Sharks and the Broadbeach Cats and stretches back to their first meeting in 1971. Matches between the two teams generally result in a larger audience and a heated contest on the field. As of the completion of the 2013 NEAFL season, the win–loss record between the two clubs stands at 70–10 in favour of the Sharks. The Cats were removed from the North East Australian Football League at the conclusion of the 2013 season which has resulted in the rivalry not continuing at the senior level.

Gold Coast Suns

Matches between Southport and the Gold Coast Suns are often referred to as the Coast Clash[7] and have occurred on a regular basis since 2011 when both teams entered the North East Australian Football League. The first ever competitive match that the Suns competed in took place in March 2009 against a reigning 2008 QAFL premiership Southport team and the Sharks would win the encounter 6.3 (39) to 3.5 (23) at Carrara Stadium.[8] The two teams met in a 2022 VFL preliminary final and despite losing eight straight times to the Suns leading into the match, Southport came out victorious 14.25 (109) to 13.3 (81) at Fankhauser Reserve.[9]

Premierships (22)

No. Year Competition Opponent Score Venue
1 1961 GCAFL Ipswich 9.12 (66) - 7.11 (53) Labrador Sports Ground
2 1962 GCAFL Currumbin Lions 9.18 (72) - 2.7 (19) Labrador Sports Ground
3 1966 GCAFL Surfers Paradise Demons 14.24 (108) - 7.16 (58) Salk Oval
4 1975 GCAFL Coolangatta Blues 26.16 (172) - 17.16 (118) Salk Oval
5 1976 GCAFL Broadbeach Cats 14.11 (95) - 9.14 (68) Salk Oval
6 1977 GCAFL Coolangatta Blues 22.18 (150) - 13.9 (87) Salk Oval
7 1979 GCAFL Coolangatta Blues 17.16 (118) - 16.19 (115) Salk Oval
8 1980 GCAFL Palm Beach Currumbin Lions 17.18 (120) - 15.8 (98) Salk Oval
9 1983 QAFL Morningside Panthers 13.12 (90) - 12.5 (77) Windsor Park
10 1985 QAFL Mayne Tigers 11.8 (74) - 10.11 (71) Windsor Park
11 1987 QAFL Windsor-Zillmere Eagles 13.17 (75) - 11.6 (72) Windsor Park
12 1989 QAFL Windsor-Zillmere Eagles 16.17 (113) - 12.5 (77) Brisbane Cricket Ground
13 1990 QAFL Morningside Panthers 22.14 (146) - 12.15 (87) Brisbane Cricket Ground
14 1992 QAFL Morningside Panthers 14.19 (94) - 12.9 (80) Brisbane Cricket Ground
15 1997 QSFL Mount Gravatt Vultures 26.13 (169) - 11.9 (75) Windsor Park
16 1998 QSFL Morningside Panthers 12.15 (87) - 11.10 (76) Giffin Park
17 1999 QSFL North Brisbane Eagles 15.14 (104) - 9.7 (61) Giffin Park
18 2000 QAFL North Brisbane Eagles 10.8 (68) - 8.11 (59) Giffin Park
19 2005 QAFL Morningside Panthers 16.15 (111) - 6.14 (50) Brisbane Cricket Ground
20 2006 QAFL Zillmere Eagles 17.14 (116) - 16.8 (104) Carrara Stadium
21 2008 QAFL Morningside Panthers 18.7 (115) - 15.17 (107) Carrara Stadium
22 2018 NEAFL Sydney Swans Reserves 14.6 (90) - 5.5 (35) Fankhauser Reserve

Club song

The Southport Sharks club song is sung to the tune of Goodbye Dolly Gray.

Grogan Medallists

QAFL Top Goalkickers

Drafted players in the AFL/VFL

Year Name Team Draft No.
1987 Darren Carlson Brisbane Bears QLD Zone Selection
1988 Marcus Ashcroft Brisbane Bears QLD Zone Selection
1988 Travis Martin-Beynon North Melbourne 4th (Pre-season)
1989 Matthew Kennedy Brisbane Bears QLD Zone Selection
1990 Corey Bell Brisbane Bears QLD Zone Selection
1990 Steven McLuckie Brisbane Bears QLD Zone Selection
1991 Brent Green Brisbane Bears QLD Zone Selection
1994 Steven Lawrence Brisbane Bears QLD Zone Selection
1997 Marc Woolnough Geelong Cats 29th
2000 Nick Riewoldt St Kilda Saints 1st
2002 Daniel Merrett Brisbane Lions 30th
2003 Andrew Raines Richmond Tigers 76th
2004 Brad Moran North Melbourne Kangaroos - 58th
2004 Leigh Ryswyk Brisbane Lions - (rookie)
2005 Sam Gilbert St Kilda Saints 33rd
2005 Wayde Mills Brisbane Lions 25th
2006 Haydn Kiel Brisbane Lions 48th (rookie)
2006 Brent Renouf Hawthorn Hawks 24th
2006 Joel Tippett Brisbane Lions 57th (rookie)
2006 Kurt Tippett Adelaide Crows 32nd
2006 Jesse White Sydney Swans 79th
2008 Dayne Beams Collingwood Magpies 29th
2009 Broc McCauley Brisbane Lions 78th (rookie)
2010 Joseph Daye Gold Coast Suns QLD Zone Selection
2010 Marc Lock Gold Coast Suns QLD Zone Selection
2010 Jack Stanlake Gold Coast Suns QLD Zone Selection
2010 Rory Thompson Gold Coast Suns QLD Zone Selection
2014 Lachie Weller Fremantle Dockers 13th
2018 Tom Wilkinson North Melbourne Kangaroos 41st (rookie)

AFL/VFL players

There are list of past and present Southport players who have played at AFL/VFL:

Season Results

Season Division Result
1983 QAFL Premiers
1984 QAFL 3rd
1985 QAFL Premiers
1986 QAFL 2nd
1987 QAFL Premiers
1988 QAFL 2nd
1989 QAFL Premiers
1990 QAFL Premiers
1991 QAFL 2nd
1992 QAFL Premiers
1993 QAFL 2nd
1994 QAFL 3rd
1995 QAFL 4th
1996 QAFL 4th
1997 QAFL Premiers
1998 QAFL Premiers
1999 QAFL Premiers
2000 QAFL Premiers
2001 QAFL 2nd
2002 QAFL 2nd
2003 QAFL 4th
2004 QAFL 2nd
2005 QAFL Premiers
2006 QAFL Premiers
2007 QAFL 2nd
2008 QAFL Premiers
2009 QAFL 3rd
2010 QAFL 3rd
2011 NEAFL 7th (Northern Conference)
2012 NEAFL 3rd (Northern Conference)
2013 NEAFL 3rd (Northern Conference)
2014 NEAFL 8th
2015 NEAFL 6th
2016 NEAFL 7th
2017 NEAFL 9th
2018 NEAFL Premiers
2019 NEAFL 2nd
2020 NEAFL Season Cancelled
2021 VFL Season Cancelled
2022 VFL 2nd - Grand Finalist


  1. ^ "Southport Sharks is proud to announce the introduction of a senior women's side in 2020". Southport Sharks. 31 December 2019.
  2. ^ "QFAW pre-season update". Southport Sharks. 20 February 2021.
  3. ^ Ben Collins (17 September 2018). "Player count drama in SANFL, NEAFL finals". Australian Football League. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  4. ^ Russell Gould (29 October 2020). "A new 22-team second-tier competition for the eastern seaboard will replace the VFL in 2021". Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  5. ^ Rhodes, Brendan. "Final round cancelled: See how the VFL finals will play out". Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  6. ^ Brendan Rhodes (18 September 2022). "Demons claim a grand old flag". Retrieved 20 September 2022.
  7. ^ "Inaugural VFL Coast Clash to be played under lights at Southport". 20 May 2021.
  8. ^ Smart, Nick (21 March 2009). "As good as gold".
  9. ^ "Southport Sharks defeat Gold Coast Suns to make VFL grand final". 11 September 2022.