STEVE Daniel has a message for those people who think the VFL should be renamed to reflect the five non-Victorian clubs playing in the competition.

By Brendan Rhodes/

The Southport coach, who grew up in Victoria and spent time as an assistant coach at the Northern Blues before heading to the Gold Coast, said the Sharks felt honoured to be playing in such a prestigious competition and would be doing their best to add another chapter to its storied history.

In fact, he point blank shot down any suggestion that Southport was representing Queensland or even the former NEAFL in Sunday’s Smithy’s VFL Grand Final against Casey Demons at Ikon Park – the club’s third premiership decider in a row after winning the NEAFL flag in 2018 before losing to the Brisbane Lions in 2019.

“Not at all – we’re privileged to be part of the VFL competition, that’s what it’s called, and we’re coming up against the best team in the competition all year, so we look forward to that … we haven’t even mentioned Queensland v Victoria at all, it doesn’t even enter our minds,” Daniel said.

“I’ve always loved the competition, I have no issues with the VFL name, I love the VFL name because I love VFL football … I know everyone up there loves being a part of the VFL.

“For those people who are criticising the name because there’s Queensland teams in it, Sydney teams in it, who cares? It’s the VFL comp, we love being a part of it; it’s a great competition.”

Daniel said making the Grand Final was a huge effort for Southport given the challenges that had been thrown in front of it throughout the year, including the death of the godfather of Queensland football, Dr Alan Mackenzie, after 49 years as Sharks president and involvement in the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns, and he hoped to see plenty of Sharks fans make the trip down to sit alongside the family and friends of their Victorian expats.

“With the rain we’ve had in Queensland, we haven’t been on our ground, we’ve been training in parks, on hockey fields, (even) in the carpark under our motel on the concrete doing stride throughs, we’ve really had it hard,” he said.

“And then Doc passing away (followed by a bowel cancer diagnosis for new president Matthew Schneider), it was just one thing after another and for this group to be resilient and get to where we are now is just outstanding for our football club.

“To win on the weekend would be an incredible achievement and a fairytale for what we’ve been trying to achieve.”

Daniel said the Sharks, who have regained their mojo in the finals after losing three games in a row in August, would be ready to make a splash against the high-flying Demons, who blew them out of the water at Casey Fields in Round 7 with the first eight goals before winning by 30 points.

“We’ve been happy with our form, we lost our way a little bit just towards the end of the season just to do with injury, we lost a couple of players and we just lost our balance a bit, we were a little bit undisciplined and we just weren’t happy with the way we were playing,” he said.

“But we redressed, reset and just got going again, but Grand Final Sunday afternoon, let’s be honest they (Casey) have been the best team all year and we’ve got to give it our best shot.

“Last time we played them … they were unbelievable so we just had to try and work ourselves back into the game – we did, but we certainly don’t want that to happen again.”

Daniel is also happier with the team’s discipline in the finals and particularly Sunday’s 2nd preliminary final win over Gold Coast, but he is hoping for his team to take better advantage of its opportunities, given he almost ground his teeth out watching the Sharks kick behind after behind against the Suns.

“We weren’t happy four weeks ago when we played the Gold Coast Suns and I let them know after the game – it cost us four goals through wrestling and undisciplined acts behind the footy,” he said.

“We lost that game when we should have won and we had to make amends and the boys certainly made amends yesterday, although we didn’t kick straight.

“When you’re dominating a game, which we were through the middle two quarters, contests, inside-50s, you’re nearly doubling them and you just keep kicking behinds – I think we kicked seven in a row and we nearly blew a Grand Final spot just through bad kicking.”

Unfortunately for the Sharks, star ruckman Fraser Thurlow is racing against time to prove his fitness after suffering a serious hamstring injury in Round 17.

“We were hoping he might have been right for the weekend but that obviously wasn’t to be,” Daniel said.

“Not beating around the bush I still think he’s only 50-50 to get up – it will be sad but it just might the case where poor Frase, time will be against him getting up.

“It’s also very risky to bring him in when he hasn’t played for that long.”

Amazingly, Southport’s VFL debut game against Carlton at Ikon Park in Round 1 last season is the only time either team has played at the Grand Final venue in recent years – the Demons haven’t ventured down Sydney Rd since 2015.

“Let’s hope that happens again, we’ll be going very well,” Daniel said of the Sharks’ comeback from five goals down in the last quarter to win by a point that day.

“We’re not marketing it like that, (but we have) very fond memories coming back here, that was a great day and that’s kind of our motto a little bit, we just hang in the games and you just never know what might happen.”

Casey Demons v Southport Sharks
Sunday September 18, 2022
IKON Park, 12:50pm AEST (previously 2:30pm AEST)

Ticketing: For the 2022 Smithy’s VFL Grand Final, admission prices are adults $20, concession/pensioners $15 and children under 15 free. Tickets can be purchased at the gate or online via:

Broadcast/streaming: Seven Network from 12:30pm (Vic – Channel 7 / Brisbane and Gold Coast – 7mate / National – 7plus). Free live stream on and the AFL Live Official app. Radio: Casey Radio 97.7FM and from 12pm.

Download the VFL/W Official App from the Apple or Google Play stores to access live scores, results, ladder, stats and to link to live streams/replays.