In 2002, Southport Sharks found itself caught up in the heinous world of global terrorism. Sharks lost the grand final against Mt Gravatt, so eight Southport Sharks players ventured to Bali with Football Manager, Bob Leslie, on an end-of-season trip.
Sadly, one player didn’t return home after a terrorist attack occurred at the Sari nightclub, where they had been celebrating on October 12, 2002. Billy Hardy Jr. tragically lost his life in the human atrocity – one of 88 Australians among 202 people killed. The other seven of Hardy’s clubmates sustained various forms of injuries in a crime that served to unite the Sharks back at home.
Thankfully all seven surviving Sharks players eventually made good recoveries. Adam Devine, Jamie Miles and Jake Ryan even made it back onto the playing field in time for the start of the 2003 season. The Southport Sharks footy club was a rock in the rehabilitation of the injured players and left no stone unturned in efforts to aid mental and physical recovery.
The memory of Hardy, a bubbly teenager recruited from Coolangatta, lives on in Queensland Aussie rules. The best player in the QAFL Reserve Grade grand final is awarded the Billy Hardy Jr. Medal. Each year, on October 12, a candle is lit beside Hardy’s bronzed football boots in the foyer of Southport Sharks.