The 1978 season saw Zane Taylor begin to lay claim to the title of the best footballer in Queensland of that era. Taylor represented Queensland with distinction in matches against the VFA and Port Melbourne after playing on permit for QAFL club Windsor Zillmere. It was the beginning of a state career that is unparalleled in Queensland football history. A best on ground performance for Southport in the GCAFL Grand Final was followed by another sterling performance for Windsor Zillmere in the QAFL Grand Final the next week. His big match temperament was on display in the Gold Coast’s representative victory over North Queensland. Taylor almost single handedly lift the Magpies out of a terrible mid season slump. No less than seven best on ground performances in a row in the second half of the season saw him win the GCAFL’s Ralph Tobiano Award and two other media prizes. Not surprisingly Taylor took out his third Magpie Best and Fairest in a row. More importantly his performance lifted the ailing Magpies to a tilt at a fourth straight premiership.
With only five wins from the first 11 rounds the pundits were writing off the Magpies. Injury and absences had ravaged the Magpie machine. Webb, Cheel, Wotjala, Ryan, Short and others all had interrupted seasons. Momentum started to build from round 15 however as players returned and some consistency was achieved. Still the Magpies went into the preliminary final against a Surfers Paradise pronounced underdogs. Three home and away losses against a hungry Demon squad did not bode well. When Zane Taylor limped from the ground before half time with Surfers Paradise well in control the season looked over. Six goals down at three quarter time, the club’s true spirit came to the fore in one its greatest victories (click here to read article). Bill Ryan was the hero. The next challenge was Coolangatta who had only one loss for the season and three convincing home and way victories over the Magpies. Taylor went into the Grand Final under a huge injury cloud (click here to read article). In true champion fashion he came out of it with a best on ground display. Coolangatta were heralded unbeatable pre match but the Magpies headed them in the last quarter and a fourth flag in succession beckoned.
Coolangatta steadied however and took out a well-deserved inaugural premiership (click here to read article). The Magpie’s premiership run had ended but not without an amazing effort.