Southport Sharks coach Steve Daniel (Image Source: Highflyer Images)

Southport Sharks VFL coach Steve Daniel believes the club has plenty left to prove in the league next year, even with a second-place finish in 2021.

The Sharks amassed a 9-1 record before their maiden season in the second-tier competition was brought to an abrupt ending due to the impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

The Queensland club had a strong opening half to the year before the VFL was abandoned, ruling out any hope of a fairytale campaign.

The Sharks landed wins against Carlton, Aspley (twice), North Melbourne, Gold Coast, Sydney, Brisbane (twice) and Essendon throughout their 10 appearances in the VFL this year.

Despite the strong record, Daniel expressed his disappointment in being unable to mount further merit in Southport's premiership tilt.

"Because of COVID unfortunately we didn't get to play every team," Daniel told Zero Hanger.

"That was probably a little bit disappointing. There were a number of teams that we were looking forward to playing against and we didn't get that opportunity.

"That takes a little bit of the shine off being 9-1, because you're actually not quite sure how good you are or how far you could've gone.

Southport Sharks player Lukas Webb in the VFL, 2021 (Image Source: Highflyer Images)

"We've had an outstanding season, but we got Brisbane two times and they were battling a little with injury."

Having worked in the NEAFL for several seasons with the Sharks and the Gold Coast Suns, Daniel found little difference between the Queensland competition and the new-look east-coast league.

The premiership coach revealed that prior to the Sharks' inception, he had been noted of the similarity in standards between the top-end of the QEAFL and VFL clubs.

"It wasn't much of a difference from the NEAFL in all honesty," Daniel said.

"Josh Clayton left us after we won the NEAFL premiership when we beat the Sydney Swans in 2018. He went back and played at Werribee for a while.

"He used to tell me that we would be more than competitive in the VFL.

"Coming into the competition quietly behind closed doors we knew we were going to be more than competitive.

Southport Sharks coach Steve Daniel (Image Source: Highflyer Images)

"There was a bit of a gap in the NEAFL from your bottom teams to the top couple, wherein the VFL it can be very even, every game is a tough one and you're not given anything lightly.

"I'm really looking forward to next year. 18 games, 18 new teams, and that's really exciting just on its own."

Speaking on the standard of football among junior competitions in Queensland, Daniel said the standards of the game and passion for Aussie Rules is continuing on a promising trajectory for the future.

"It's terrific up here," he added.

"To watch the growth of the game through the Brisbane Lions' success, to see the amount of kids playing football up here, both boys and girls, you can certainly see it coming on."

A key figure at the club comes in the form of former West Coast and Suns midfielder Ryan Davis, who will continue his role as coach of the Sharks' Women's side.

Southport Sharks player and QAFLW coach Ryan Davis (Image Source: Southport Sharks coach Steve Daniel (Image Source: Highflyer Images)

After consecutive premierships in the QFAW Division 1, Davis' side will enter their first campaign in the QAFLW, with Daniel and the rest of the club looking to support the 32-yer-old's coaching ambitions.

"He's done a terrific job," Daniel said on Davis' duties. "He manages it really, really well.

"Ryan certainly loves his coaching wants to go a long way with his coaching, so we certainly encourage that.

"He loves his football still too. So we're going to try and get Ryan to have the best of both worlds."

The new VFL season will commence on March 26, with the league yet to confirm the 2022 fixture.