The Club

1971  BAFL's First Team and Officials

In no particular order: Percy Baker, Mel Cook, Dennis Cotterill, Ian Gordon, John Kerr, Brett Martin, Keith McConville, Russ McDonald, Jack McWhae, Gary McWhea,
Kevin Neilson, Steve Palmer, Jake Rebecchi, Brian Spence, John Stone, David Stones, Jim Stubbs, Bob Thomas and John Traill

 Round 1 1972

"FIRST ever win of all time. First win was against Labrador who were the FIRST team in 1970 Grand Final and they were the FIRST team the Cats met in their very FIRST game in their very FIRST year in the Gold Coast League.

FIRST time the Cats have fielded a full reserve side. It surely was history making for the Cats. Their staunch spectators and supporters are still walking on air after the ordeal. Commiserations to Labrador. (Ed: Labrador was the sponsor club for the Cats) Little Bobby Selwood really burned. His performance was magnificent. Geoff Burgin must have worn his boots out with the kicks he made when turning the tide against the Tigers when attacking. Kevin Nielsen's marks at full back; Bret Martin continuing with a broken nose; Dennis Cottrell getting his eye in after a long absence; Tommy Rosengreen flying through and clearing in the last quarter; John Ewans steadying them down; Ron Derrick with beautiful intelligent football; Iron Man Bob Thomas in the centre - the story could go on and on but that is the spirit of the Cats. You notched up your FIRST.

Congratulations Ted Harcourt. Your FIRST in fielding a Reserve team of Broadbeach boys is further progress. The Seniors have known the taste of defeat fellows, but build with the help of your Captain Coach and you will soon savour the taste of a win."

First Game at a Home

Further, Jimmy Stubbs records in his journal for 1972 "...our FIRST game at our home ground (Ed: then at Paradise Point!) was played against Southport in May 1972. There were no change rooms available so tents would be erected on game days. club rooms were opened by the Mayor on the 4th of July. This was to the year of the Cats. A home ground and new clubrooms, a new coach, competitive teams in both senior and reserve grades plus a strong committee...The FIRST step with the FIRST win was almost like winning a Grand Final. Celebrations were huge."

Some Years On: First Premiership 1987

headlineBoth sides finished on top, the seniors with a 15 - 3 record and a percentage of 178.24, two wins ahead of PBC and Coolangatta, with Surfers a further game behind; while the ressies had a 14 - 4 season with a gargantuan percentage of 234.85, one win ahead of Surfers, Coolangatta and PBC. Records are unclear as to the fate of the ressies but we do know that Surfers played Coolangatta for the flag.

20 September 1987 Gold Coast 4GG Premiership Broadbeach defeated PBC 16 - 16 (112) to 9 - 8 (62)
Goals: Owen 5, Heers and Hider 3 each, Epstein 2, and singles to Cadman, Cummins and McDonald
Best: Owen, Lucas, Cadman, Grieves and Hider

The press reports that "...after an even first half, Broadbeach ran away with the game...outkicking the Lions 11 - 7 to 4 - 3. Owen ran the PBC defence ragged ... and helped set up most of the play. The speedy ruckman booted 5 goals for the day and was justifiably awarded man of the match. In the last two quarters Broadbeach players, with their first premiership flag in sight, outclassed Palm Beach in every department, The entire Cats cast outran, outmarked and outkicked Palm Beach, dictating the game from every part of the ground. The Cats kept the pressure up even after after victory had become a forgone conclusion, kicking four goals in the final ten minutes of play, to the cheers of at least half of the 2500 spectators."

"There wasn't a weak link in the side all day, said an exuberant Ling. Every player did exactly what was asked of them - it was our best performance all season,..."


But don't you just love footy clubs? Some time around November, four months after the local press reported that coach Ling was to stay with the Cats for 1988, and only a month or so after the GF victory, he quit. And what's more, applied for PBC's coaching position. A much better story of intrigue than the win loss-record of a Pagan, a Daniher or a Connolly, or perhaps even of a use-by-date of a Sheedy?


1987 Premiership Team and Officials

B: Ian Grieves          Jack Conn            Brian Nicholls                                                 Coach: Wayne Ling

HB: Peter Simpson   Terry Lucas          Andy Rowley                                                  Selector: Bryan Wilkinson

C: Stuart Gross        John Hrider          Mick Epestein                                                  Manager: Bobby Hayes Snr

HF: Phil Heers          Steve Cummins    Darren Cadman                                              Doctor: Dr. Don McCombe

F: Marty Cross         Wayne Waldie      Kevin Bull                                                         Trainers: Geoff Kokkin, Tony Brabazon

R: Alan McDonald, Tony Owen, Goerge Hider                                                              President: Pater Gallus

Int: Brian Rowe (C), Andy Robinson                                                                             Vice President: Dave Dover

Emerg: Ashley Wollerman, Adam Littlechild, Noel Emzin, Bobby Hayes Jnr

 A History of Sorts

It is probably impossible to do proper justice to the Broadbeach Australian Rules Football Club in words. It will be glibly described within constitutional and incorporated terms, but like so many real and living organisations, it is much more than transactions, declarations of intent or indeed the sum of its parts. Its historic, current and future value to the community, and environs beyond that community, may be measured in participatory statistics, and social and individual impact indicators of that participation: sometimes referred to as outputs and outcomes, ‘bottom lines’ in corporate speak. But we would claim community organisations of our ilk are built on people, contributions and events that combined with ‘bottom lines’ develop tradition and a unique bond that puts a value on membership.

Broadbeach Australian Rules Football Club Inc (The Club) is the original Lessee to the Council of the City of the Gold Coast of a site commonly known as the Merrimac Oval.


The Club’s objective and mission statements are found in the constitution and rolling strategic plans.

Objective: To promote, foster and support Australian Football and other sports and to operate and conduct its affairs solely for the benefit of Broadbeach Senior Australian Football Club Incorporated and Broadbeach Junior Australian Football Club Incorporated and any other approved Associations

Mission: To be the number one team in the AFL Queensland and to be acknowledged for our high level of professional conduct both on and off the football field. Showing outward pride and respect for our teammates


The Juniors’ strategic plan lists its mission as: “We the Broadbeach Cats are a Junior Australian Football Club that provides junior teams the opportunity to participate in the AFL Gold Coast Juniors.  We recognise the importance of fun and enjoyment and we encourage the values of development and participation of junior Australian Football.” It also provides guiding principles:

(i)                     The club believes that winning isn’t everything. However we encourage competitive play among youth age groups as we believe it contributes highly to player development and team morale.

(ii)                   We foster a fun and healthy environment for the local community to enjoy. Participation, skill and social development of junior AFL are our key functions.

(iii)                 We promote fair play as well as player rotation.  Each and every participant will get the opportunity to experience each position throughout the season

(iv)                   All coaching staff are required to attain a Level One Coaching Accreditation.  This is financially facilitated by the club.  All coaching staff are expected to continually seek and utilise the latest coaching techniques and training equipment during their tenure as a junior coach for the BJAFC.

(v)                     The club fosters a fun, active and healthy environment for participants, families, coaches, spectators and officials.  We promote a friendly positive image and we always encourage parental support at both team and committee level

(vi)                   We are a significant member of the BFC and we aim to integrate senior involvement with the juniors and vice versa.

The Broadbeach Australian Football Club is probably typical of Gold Coast aussie rules clubs. It has its roots in people, and in particular the zealots promoting and proselytising aussie rules through social contact. The demographic trends of the day ensured that the migratory Victorians, Tasmanians, South Australians and West Australians, tapped the local passion for aussie rules to develop common interests, networks and friendships – in short, developing Queensland roots and becoming part of the community.

Specifically, at the end of the 1969 season, the NSW based Lismore club withdrew from the fledgling Gold Coast 4GG Australian Football League which identified Broadbeach as a target area for a new team. A public meeting was held in early 1970, and four people that were not affiliated to other Gold Coast Clubs attended. Football clubs, as community organisations, are dependent on the inputs of volunteers. We speak of time, skill, money, resources and remarkable persistence, and while passing reference is made to a few persons, it is an altogether unacceptable representation in the history of Broadie.

One of the four persons at the meeting was Jim Stubbs, who agreed to take on the challenge of starting a new club on the provision that the new club would wear the colours of the Geelong Football Club. After several weeks of recruitment effort, it became evident that it would not be possible to field a team in 1970, so entry was planned for the 1971 season.  In 1971, Broadbeach entered the Gold Coast 4GG Australian Football League. Percy Baker, the first player signed up, was there as he is today, a proud Top Cat member. Many details are sketchy, especially of facility development, perhaps reflecting the social priority of the competition at that time.

The Club shared the pre-existing Surfers Paradise AFC ground on the Isle of Capri. The first game was against Labrador at the Isle of Capri which Broadbeach lost. In fact the Cats did not win a game in their first season and finished with the wooden spoon. Tensions between Surfers and Broadbeach escalated when several players switched to Broadbeach colours during the course of the year. A new ground needed to be located quickly and in 1972 Broadie relocated to a site in Paradise Point.

At the start of the season, there were no clubrooms at Paradise Point, so tents were erected on match days to be used as change-rooms. Through generous donations of time and equipment by club members and local council, club rooms were subsequently built, and opened on the 4th July by the Mayor. On 14 May 1972, Broadbeach won its first ever game, against Labrador. It was in ‘76, led by strong-man Kevin Maynard, that the Cats made the grand final for the first time beating Palm Beach in the Preliminary Final in 1976. Unfortunately, neighbourly rivals, the Southport Magpies proved too strong on the day. The rivalry between local teams and particularly Southport, gathered strength. Training was conducted in the early to mid 1970’s in the Broadbeach area at several venues: the Broadbeach Primary School, the Broadbeach Soccer Club and Pizzy Park (Burleigh Bears Rugby League). Sharing of facilities was becoming increasingly difficult and the ground at Paradise Point was both inconvenient and lacking in facilities compared to other grounds on the Gold Coast.

Senior performance will be forever underpinned by junior development programs and so it was with Broadbeach: Junior teams from U/12 to U/16s were competing in 1972, and in 1976 the U/10s commenced followed by the U/9s and Auskick programs in 1981. In celebration of true community status, in the following year the Pussys, a female team was established. It just has to be one of the first female aussie rules teams anywhere! In 1977, after 30 attempts, Broadbeach recorded its first win against Southport – a rivalry so fundamental to any sporting competition, was consumated. In the same year, meaningful discussions took place with the Albert Shire Council about a permanent home ground at the Clear Island tip site at Merrimac. On 2 January 1978, a 15 year lease agreement was signed between the Broadbeach AFC and the Albert Shire Council allowing the club exclusive use of Merrimac Oval, and all indications were that the ground would be ready for the 1979 season.

On the 24th June 1979, the current ground was officially opened prior to the defeat by Coolangatta. Securing the ground was a great achievement by long-time president Stan Brown and life member Harry Halkerston, who worked tirelessly to gain use of the apparently disregarded plot.  Interestingly the ground measured 202 x 164 yards in comparison to the ‘G’ at 191 x 62. The intense rivalry with Southport continued to develop, and Broadbeach scored a season upset win over the Magpies in July 1980, and added salt to the wound by winning the Colts flag for 1979 when they downed the hot favourites Southport.

Organisational and strategic needs took over in the early 80s. The Constitution was written with intent to have a management committee that represented active club sections balanced with independent members. 1981 is best remembered for the dispute over the use of the fully fenced Merrimac Oval, but without visitor changing room toilets, for the preliminary final. Based on playing surface objections, several clubs led by guess who, Southport refused to play at Merrimac. The Preliminary final went ahead but the Grand Final was played eventually at Salk Oval. Broadie played in the Ressies GF unsuccessfully and the Colts won the flag again.

In 1982, a year when Geelong and Footscray met on the coast at Owen park (Southport) in an exhibition game, Broadie ran into player payment troubles. Jimmy Stubbs guaranteed a bank loan to ensure player payments, and the club stayed alive. Ground controversy was again a talking point as the league were keen to gain revenues from the final series. Press reports suggest that Merrimac had the cleanest clubrooms, best canteen and car par facilities. We were selected again because of a fully fenced facility (enabling car parking fees and ground entrance charges), and because it was and is centrally located – although our rivals preferred to refer to Merrimac as ‘out in the sticks’.  Again, the preliminary was played at Merrimac but the Grand Final at Salk Oval, where the Ressies won the flag against Southport. Club committee meeting minutes suggest that fully licensed premises status was achieved this year

In 1983 we said goodbye to the Southport Sharks who entered the QAFL. (We have since picked up the rivalry and derby atmosphere in the AFLQ). All senior teams made the finals amid a reported rift between players and coach Harold Davies and a “no train no play edict” resulting in the inevitable internal clash. Club documents suggest this is the year that the Supporters first formed a coterie with membership at $100 each, which amongst other benefits, bought an issue of the ‘Cat Whisper’. The Ressies and Colts won the flag.

While little detail on facility development is available, clearly there were change rooms of sorts and an after-game venue for a well earned catch-me-up. In 1984 under Brian Rowe as coach, new clubrooms were built at a cost of $40,000. It is presumed that individual contributions of both kind and money, plus GCCC input along with a reported sponsorship of $15,000 over 3 years from the Lone Star Tavern, resulted in an extended licensed club, including a snooker room.  The history of the Gold Coast and Broadbeach AFC intertwined at this point with the rubble from the demolished Surfers Paradise Hotel being used to create spectator mounds around the ground – who knows what stories are beneath the feet of today’s supporters? As a precursor to the Bears (1987), the finals were played at Carrara. And more importantly for Broadie, meeting minutes record that on the motion of Graeme Buntine, the club should commence processes to incorporate as the Broadbeach Australian Rules Football Club. Interestingly, in that year the GCAFL was sponsored to the tune of $7,500 by Victoria’s Four’n Twenty Pies, on the condition that the GC representative side was to be known as the Blackbirds. To celebrate the deal, and also the opening of a new GC Four’n Twenty outlet, the sponsor flew in the Swannies captain Barry Round, father of present day captain, David. The Broadbeach Cat Colts won the flag again.

In 1985 it was reported that we were the only fully licensed club in the GCAFL. It was no guarantee of off-field success - club turnovers ranged between $6,500 and $9,000 per month but still ran a deficit. The familiar issues of insurance, security systems and memberships were the talking points. Would you believe a $15 pensioner membership was the go at the time? The Club financial position prompted an invitation to the GC cricket association to share the facilities. The new rooms and obviously improved ground surface saw the club host the finals with the Ressies winning a bloodbath against Coolangatta. The late 80s may be termed the Coaching Era. In 1986 an Ex Geelong player, Gordon Hynes was appointed. He couldn’t have lasted too long as one David James, ex Sunshine VFA, actually coached during the season. Eighty six also saw the introduction of PNG representative games versus the Blackbirds. For the rule-minded, ’86 is also when compulsory send offs were introduced and Broadie’s Greg Sklavos was the first Quuensland player to be sent off for 10 mins in a practice match versus Springwood. Not something to record with relish but none-the-less, adding to the saga and tradition of the Club. In 1987, Wayne Ling was appointed coach for 2 years with Brian Rowe as captain. Both first and seconds finished on top and we went on to win our first ever senior premiership (against PBC). Appropriately, some off-field structuring was simultaneously achieved with formal incorporation of the club. Coach Ling took off prematurely to the GF opponents and in 1988, George Hider, B&F from 1987 was appointed the fourth coach in three years. That year the Club also adopted the professional move of appointing a full time fundraiser. The late 80s appear to be a fraught period of financial concern with a recorded $18,000 loss for the ’89 season. A decision was made to pursue gambling revenues. Records also indicate the Pussys won the premiership.

Also in ’87, the earliest archived Junior records list Dean Howard as the B&F for the U/12 League and present day Senior Sergeant of the Burleigh Heads police station, Toby Wilkinson played in the U/16 Grand Final. The Juniors continue to be a important entity within the club. It is often the first contact point for community members and the continuity indicated by familiar names in membership lists and team lists year after year attests to club integration. The Juniors have contributed in significant ways to the ground facilities in provision of Gymnasium equipment and space, landscaping spectator areas and BBQ They have instigated a number of programs, inter alia, Auskick in conjunction with the GCAFL, and the retention plan providing incentive for Juniors to continue with the Seniors and have fielded without break teams in the U/9s, U/10s, U/11s, U/12s, U/14s and U/16s. Importantly we are very active with local schools in the promotion of junior football. The Junior Club was voted club of the year in 2001 and Dale Perkins, current Senior Club committee member, received ‘Volunteer of the Year’ for Queensland in 2005.

The 90s saw the cricket club associated with the football club. In 1991 the CC was incorporated and the decision appeared to be justified with a small profit on a turnover of around $200,000. Perhaps the inauguration of the Old Boys in that year, providing the more mature community member an outlet for physical well being and group membership, contributed to this success. With average weekly costs around $2,000 and cash only accounts with the brewery, the Club jumped in the deep end. The Cricket club went from 5 to 6 teams and 2 softball teams were introduced. An irrigation system was installed operating 11am to 7pm – ponder that as of the present – and the GCCC provided $34,000 for the lighting system to be improved. Constitutionally, affiliated clubs would have their own membership fees and pokies were approved and introduced. In 1995 an extended 15 year lease to 31 July 2010 was agreed by both Council and Club. In 1996, a year when current President Terry Roach, was coach of the colts, we celebrated with a triple premiership – played at Merrimac – with the GC league barring alcohol other than that served over the bar.

In June of the new century, the Club re-incorporated as the BroadBeach Sports and Recreation Centre Inc. simultaneously entering the AFLQ. In the same year, Nic Riewolt became the first Broadbeach player to be drafted to the AFL, since followed by several locals, the most recent being Ricky Petterd to Melbourne in 2006. In 2003 the U/18s came under the banner of the senior club which also initiated the community participation activity of open gender recreational football in 2005, an aussie rules version of touch-football running for 12 weeks after the season proper. With neighbouring school potential activity, our facilities are used to a maximum on a yearly basis. Provision of appropriate playing facilities for community use remains at the top of our agenda. Currently we are limited, by amongst others, sub-standard lighting for training and evening events, the discomfort of inadequate change rooms, and the never ending financial demands of keeping a community organisation alive and well.

The Gold Coast, a football vacuum since the Brisbane Bears moved, has grown to become the 6th biggest urban area in Australia with nearly half a million people. In recent years, several bids were made for a new AFL franchise by local rivals, the powerhouse Southport Sharks Australian Football Club, including attempts to lure a Melbourne based club in 2004. Demographic trends suggest a growing demand for Australian Rules football and the AFL has stepped up, with the 17th franchise the SUNs,  entering Gold Coast market in 2011.  AFL football is on the march and Broadbeach Australian Football Club is as important as any in the strategic planning for success. In 2007, there were around 3,300 senior players in Queensland, with a total of 74,626 participants. Although the overall participation per capita is around 2%, the sport is growing faster in Queensland than any other Australian state. Broadbeach participation rates represented in the chart below (Recreational players not included) show marked increase since 2002 and given match day activities, effectively the community facility caters to twice the numbers indicated on a weekly basis plus school and summer season club participants.

Broadbeach Australian Football Club is a thriving community based sporting organisation that participates in the NEAFL and QAFL State League; the AFL Gold Coast Junior League (Auskick, Modifieds and Youth); and The AFL Gold Coast Old Boys League;  We compete against financially secure organisations such as the Brisbane Lions, traditional rivals the Southport Sharks,  Zillmere Eagles, the NT and in 2011 teams from the NEAFL such as the Swans, GWS, the SUNs,  and Canberra based sides. Participation alone requires an annual turnover of approximately $300,000, a huge challenge for the club.

The Broadbeach club also has good internal working relationships and there has been a steady flow of local junior talent into the senior team, and as has been mentioned, several local players have graduated to the AFL via Broadbeach AFC. The Strategic Plan also reports a survey process in 2006 that highlights the well established “community feel” and further states that people involved genuinely enjoy their participation and like “their” club. There is a demonstrably huge current commitment to self help. There are per season some 3.5 and 3 work years of inputs into the Junior and Senior Clubs respectively. This volunteer network is an area of envy of other clubs. Personalities aside - and the names are legendary - the blood sweat and tears paint a picture of community perseverance in the face of recent slow down in facility development in comparison to our rivals. The club has embraced the challenges and with a Joint Board ccordinating the Senior and Junior Boards, with a particular emphasis on sponsorship and marketing, we approach 2011 and beyond with some confidence.