Sunshine Coast Daily assistant editor and longtime sports writer Paul Munnings reports on the latest move to build the profile of a possible State League team on the north coast…

Sunshine Coast Daily assistant editor and longtime sports writer Paul Munnings reports on the latest move to build the profile of a possible State League team on the north coast…

AFL Queensland will launch a Sunshine Coast Hall of Fame in June, as momentum builds for a possible re-birth of a local state league team.

Shane Johnson, a former prominent Sunshine Coast football identity who is conducting a 12-month AFLQ feasibility study on the future of the code in this region, yesterday confirmed a Hall of Fame dinner for Saturday, June 26, at Maroochydore RSL.

It will celebrate 40 years of Sunshine Coast football since its birth in 1970 and see about 130 people recognised for their contribution to the game, with a small number of standouts awarded legend status.

According to Johnson, inclusion in the Hall of Fame would be on the basis of outstanding service and overall contribution to Australian football on the Sunshine Coast. This could cover players, umpires, coaches, volunteers, school teachers and media.

The person’s individual record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship and character will be considered.

People who have left the region and made a name at higher levels of the game will also be considered

The selection panel includes Bart Jaques, Lyndsay Halson, Rocco Pirrotina, Pater Lavery, Paul Tresise and Shane Johnson, in consultation with Mark Kennedy, Wes Parry, Len Daddow, Noel Radke, David Moles, Kingsley St Clair, Doug Hills, Doug Murray and Bill Magin, plus the Pomona and Gympie football clubs.

Hall of Fame inductees are expected to be advised of their selection early next month, and Johnson is confident of securing a big AFL celebrity to present the inductions.

If a new Sunshine Coast state league team is formed, then all Hall of Fame members would probably be granted life member status, he said.

Johnson, who launched his state league feasibility study last November, said he had been “really encouraged” by the response from people throughout the region.

“The initial reaction has been tremendously positive, but now it’s a case of turning enthusiasm into concrete plans and formulating a mechanism via which we can address the issue of perhaps reinvigorating a state league team on the Coast,” he said.

“The Hall of Fame is an important part of this process whereby we get everyone from Gympie to Caloundra on the same page, building a tradition and spirit which encapsulates the entire region.

“The other thing we need to do if a state league team is going to get off the ground is drive some financial support, because the team isn’t going to run itself.”

Johnson said the journey to establish the Hall of Fame had prompted countless funny stories, but he recounted fondly the day when state league football first came to the Sunshine Coast on Saturday, March 7, 1970.

“As legend has it, Mayne and Morningside, QAFL heavyweights at the time, played a promotional match at the Cooroy Showground and they used freshly cut saplings as goalposts,” he said.

“The ground had sagging power lines over it and often the ball would hit them, bringing a loud call of ‘play on’ from the umpires.

“A local rugby league supporter must have been worried by the intrusion of a rival code, because he flew a light plane over the ground during the game and dropped flour bombs on to the arena.”

Caloundra (1989-90) and Maroochydore (1998-99) played briefly in the AFLQ state league but folded because they failed to generate sufficient support from all sections of the Sunshine Coast.

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