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1968

 
Ken Best recruited by Collingwood

VFL powerhouse Collingwood recruited Ken Best after a recommendation to coach Bob Rose by GCAFL President and former Collingwood goal kicking icon Ron Todd. Southport immediately cleared Best who travelled to Melbourne for preseason training. Some impressive trials saw his selection on the Collingwood senior list. Best’s dream was stymied however by Brisbane based QANFL officials, who invoked a “Protected State” rule that allowed them to stop talented players heading south. After four months of waiting it out in Melbourne, Best returned to the Gold Coast bitterly disappointed. He was soon however back in a black and white jumper and was in Southport’s best players six weeks in a row.

Southport stalwart Don Brown leads a promotional blitz

Gold Coast Bulletin scribe PUNT HIGH was the pseudonym for former Southport player Don Brown. Brown was also active on the committees of Southport AFC and the GCAFL. His journalism was impartial and professional and was a real asset to the development of the code. He not only wrote articles for the Bulletin but also provided expertise to the league that ensured regular coverage in Lismore’s Northern Star, Tweed Valley’s Daily News, and the Surfers Paradise Mirror. Radio shows commenced on 4GG and 2MW, and regular reports were prevalent on television Channel 8. Brown was also instrumental in the establishment of the GCAFL’s first Football Record in 1968. Part of the promotional blitz of 1968 included a Trans Australian Airlines sponsored visit by Ron Barassi. This was to generate great media interest and was another boon for football in the area.

Bobby Skilton plays for the Gold Coast, and night football is played at Owen Park

The Gold Coast’s first night match was conducted at Owen Park post season after lights had been installed. At first it was hoped that North Melbourne would travel up to Owen Park for the match. Eventually a strong Windsor-Zillmere outfit travelled down from Brisbane. Ken Best, Dave Burns and Terry Doyle were named in the best players. The season seemed to never end with two more representative games against Mt Isa club Saints and finally, on October 13, a narrow loss to the strong North Hobart club. VFL club South Melbourne, was holidaying on the Gold Coast at that time. Triple Brownlow Medalist Bob Skilton was somehow recruited to play for the Gold Coast in the North Hobart match. He was named in the Coast’s best players.