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NORTHERN TERRITORY FOOTBALL

Tiwi Islands Football League (TIFL)

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Siren sounds for Tiwi Islands' 'Father of football'

June 1, 2009

 

THERE are few men who can wear the label "the father of football". Brother John Pye, an unassuming Catholic priest with a country background, was one of them.

On Friday, the man credited with bringing Australian football to the Tiwi Islands, with a few sticks hammered into an old airstrip, died in Darwin.

Known to Tiwi locals by the name of Punderdelime — meaning crocodile tail and representing strength and maturity — he was 102.

The home page of Darwin's St Mary's Football Club, where many Tiwi Islanders have played, quotes Brother John as saying he joined the Missionary of the Sacred Heart order because he "wanted to help people in far away places".

So it was that he arrived on the Tiwi Islands in 1941 as a young priest posted as a teacher.

Born in the NSW Riverina in 1906, he was a natural athlete who captained his school football team.

When he arrived in the islands, the Tiwi people played a traditional form of football, which had the aim of running or kicking the ball over the line.

But Brother John's initial efforts to establish the Australian game were thwarted by war, where he spent most of his time at Port Keats, in the Northern Territory.

In peacetime, he tried again, using an old World War II airstrip, with sticks at each end, as a football field.

In an ABC television interview, Brother John said he could see the Tiwi were an "athletic, spritely and springy" people.

"Their brand of football is lightning fast, and it's almost like a religion with them," he said.

In the decades since Brother John arrived, the Tiwi Islands have produced some of football's most acclaimed players, such as former Essendon co-captain Michael Long, Richmond legend Maurice Rioli — both Norm Smith medallists — and rising Hawthorn star Cyril Rioli.

Last night, former Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy said Brother John should be remembered as one of the quiet heroes of football who deserved serious acclaim.

"When you are working in a community, as he was, to start something and create what is happening in our game today is marvellous," he said. "Just go and see the Longs and the Riolis who have come down."

Brother John spent almost 70 years working on Catholic missions in the Northern Territory, including the Bathurst Island, Garden Point and Daly River missions.

He was awarded an Order of Australia in 1986.

Darwin's Bishop Eugene Hurley said Brother John was "an icon of the Territory" who committed his life to serving other people.

In years to come, the name John Pye will continue to be remembered on at least one day a year, the Tiwi grand final, when a medal in his honour is named for the best afield.

"It's a great honor, the John Pye Medal," Brother John told the ABC in 2006. "Everybody likes to be remembered, sort of thing. Each year they bring that up."

 

Nguilla Football League Premiers
Year Premiers G P B Opponents G P B
1969/70 Pumarali Def No Scores
1970/71 Tapalinga Def Pumarali No Scores
1971/72 Irrimuru 15 6 96 Def Pumarali 9 14 68
1972/73 Imalu Def Tapalinga No scores Imalu by 55 pts
1973/74 Imalu 12 8 80 Def Pumarali 8 5 53
1974/75 Tuyu 11 8 74 Def Imalu 10 13 73 1 Point
1975/76 Pumarali 13 6 84 Def Tuyu 8 12 60
1976/77 Tapalinga 12 6 78 Def Pumarali 10 9 69
1977/78 Pumarali 14 15 99 Def Imalu 10 9 69
1978/79 Imalu 25 15 165 Def Tapalinga 2 4 16
1979/80 Pumarali 10 16 76 Def Milikapati 7 10 52
1980/81 Imalu 12 11 83 Def Pumarali 12 6 78
1981/82 Imalu 20 8 128 Def Tapalinga 8 18 66
1982/83 Tapalinga 18 17 125 Def Pumarali 19 5 119 6 Points
1983/84 Imalu 16 13 109 Def Tapalinga 15 16 106 3 Points
1984/85 Imalu 14 10 94 Def Irrimaru 7 13 55
1985/86 Tapalinga 19 15 129 DRAW Imalu 21 3 129 Draw
1985/86 Tapalinga 24 12 156 Def Imalu 22 3 135 Replay
1986/87 Tapalinga 22 7 139 Def Pumarali 16 13 109
1987/88 Tapalinga 18 13 121 Def Imalu 14 14 98
1988/89 Imalu 18 9 117 Def Milikapati 11 7 73
Changed to Tiwi Islands Premiers
1989/90 Imalu 23 22 160 Def Taracumbie 14 11 95
1990/91 Tapalinga 14 9 93 Def Imalu 12 8 80
1991/92 Imalu 19 5 119 Def Tuyu 12 10 82
1992/93 Imalu 15 8 98 Def Irrimaru 9 11 65
1993/94 Imalu 17 9 111 Def Tuyu 10 12 72
1994/95 Tuyu 15 12 102 Def Irrimaru 11 11 77
1995/96 Imalu 17 9 111 Def Tuyu 10 12 72
1996/97 Irrimuru 13 6 84 Def Imalu 12 6 78 6 Points
1997/98 Tapalinga 17 7 109 Def Pumarali 11 5 71
1998/99 Imalu 9 8 62 Def Warankuwu 3 6 24
1999/00 Pumarali 8 6 54 Def Tuyu 6 12 48 6 Points
2000/01 Ranku 12 7 79 Def Taracumbie 9 7 61
2001/02 Tuyu 8 7 55 Def Tapalinga 6 6 42
2002/03 Pumarali 11 10 76 Def Muluwurri 7 10 52
2003/04 Tapalinga 10 10 70 Def Imalu 9 6 60
2004/05 Tuyu 12 9 81 Def Muluwurri 10 3 63
2005/06 Pumarali 7 7 49 Def Muluwurri 6 8 44
2006/07 Muluwurri 25 6 156 Def Imalu 12 4 76
2007/08 Imalu 12 9 81 Def Tapalinga 10 8 68
2008/09 Tapalinga 12 9 81 Def Imalu 11 7 73
2009/10 Tapalinga 9 15 69 Def Imalu 4 6 30
2010/11 Imalu 13 10 88 Def Ranku 6 7 43
2011/12 Tuyu 12 12 84 Def Imalu 11 5 71
2012/13 Imalu 13 7 85 Def Tapalinga 10 9 69
2013/14 Tuyu 13 9 87 Def Muluwurri 12 5 77
2014/15 Walama 7 12 54 Def Pumaralli 7 10 52 2 Points
2015/16 Muluwurri 11 9 75 Def Tuyu 9 9 63
2016/17 Muluwurri 8 9 57 Def Tapalinga 6 11 47
2017/18 Tikilaru Dockers 8 3 51 Def Tuyu Buffaloes 6 8 44

Premierships No
Imalu 17
Tapalinga 12
Pumarali 7
Tuyu 6
Irrimuru 3 now Walama
Muluwurri 2
Ranku 1
Tikilaru Dockers 1
Nguiu 0
Wadeye Magic 0

Club Nick Names Colours
1 Garden Point to
1 Imalu Tigers Black and Gold with Tiger Logo
2 Irrimuru to
2 Walama Bulldogs Blue with Red and White Stripes with Bulldog Logo
3 Snake Bay to
3 Milikapati to Magpie Geese/Magpies Black and White vertical Stripes
3 Taracumbie to Magpie Geese Black and White vertical Stripes
3 Muluwurri Magpie Geese Black and White vertical Stripes with Magpie Logo
4 Nguiu Lions Maroon and Blue with Gold Lion
5 Pumarali Thunder and Lightning Red and Black with Lightning Bolt
6 Warankuwu to
6 Ranku Eagles Blue and Gold
7 Tapalinga Super Stars previous Hawks Brown and Gold
8 Tikilaru Dockers Dockers Purple and White
9 Tuyu Buffaoes Light Blue and Dark Blue with Buffalo Logo
10 Wadeye Magic Magic Red, Black and Yellow
11 Melville Island Kangaroos

Note: The TIFL season usually commences the second week of October with the umpires carnival.
The regular season starts the next week following the carnival. The season usually finishes by the end of March.

Note 1. The Clubs in Bold changed their name over the years to the present club in light colour
Note 2. Pumarali Thunder and Lightning were called the Bombers but are now just Thunder and Lightning
Note 3. Tapalinga were called Hawks but are now known as the Super Stars
Note 4. Up until 1990, the TIFL was called the Tiwi Nguilla Football League.

David Kantilla (Snr) Medallist - Tiwi Island Leading Goal Kicker
Year Name Club Total
1971/72 Richard Miller Taracumbi 42
1972/73 Leon Puruntatameri Taracumbi 51
1973/74 Richard Miller Taracumbi 41
1974/75 Baylon Tipungwuti Imalu 51
1975/76 Andrea Puautjimi Tapalinga 39
1976/77 Osmond Mackay Imalu 36
1977/78 Danny Munkara Taracumbi 42
1978/79 Osmond Mackay Imalu 50
1979/80 Osmond Mackay Imalu 52
1980/81 Jules Kerinaiua Tapalinga 60
1981/82 Lorenzo Kerinaiua Tapalinga 75
1982/83 Kim Puruntatameri Tapalinga 79
1983/84 Sebastian Rioli Imalu 72
1984/85 Kim Puruntatameri Tapalinga 79
1985/86 Greg Orsto Taracumbi 53
1986/87 Kim Puruntatameri Tapalinga 55
1987/88 Emmanuel Rioli Imalu 96
1988/89 Lorenzo Kerinaiua Tapalinga 102
1989/90 Lorenzo Kerinaiua Tapalinga 70
1990/91 Lorenzo Kerinaiua Tapalinga 70
1991/92 Murray Daniels Taracumbi 85
1992/93 Greg Orsto Taracumbi 53
1993/94 Greg Orsto Taracumbi 78
1994/95 Paul R. Tipungwuti Irrimaru 75
1995/96 Gawin Tipiloura Pumaralli 78
1996/97 Gawin Tipiloura Pumaralli 112
1997/98 Charlie Portaminni Pumaralli 57
1998/99 Emmanuel Tipungwuti Tapalinga 48
1999/00 Shane Kerinaiua Taracumbi 77
2000/01 Valentine Puautjimi Ranku 101
2001/02 Gilbert Alimankinni Pumaralli 70
2002/03 Leo Orsto Tuyu 46
2003/04 Shane Kerinaiua Pumaralli 124
2004/05 Shane Kerinaiua Pumaralli 100
2005/06 Joseph Kantilla Pumaralli 78
2006/07 Daniel Stassi Muluwurri 71
2007/08 Shane Kerinaiua Tuyu 52
2008/09 No Award
2009/10 Nathan Daniels Muluwurri 57
2010/11 David Kantilla Imalu 75
2011/12 John Benson Kelantumama Pumaralli 68
2012/13 John Benson Kelantumama Pumaralli 73
2013/14 Nathan Daniels Muluwurri 60
2014/15 Mitchell Puantalara Walama 37
2015/16 John Benson Kelantumama Pumaralli 34
2016/17 John Benson Kelantumama Pumaralli 45
2017/18

Most Goals in TIFL Grand Finals
9 John CUSACK Imalu 1978/79
9 Sibby RIOLI Imalu 1985/86 Drawn match
9 Sibby RIOLI Imalu 1985/86 Replay
7 Kim PURUNTATAMERI Tapalinga 1985/86 Drawn match
7 Lorenzo KERINAIUA Tapalinga 1985/86 Drawn match
7 Lindsay MOREEN Mulluwurri 2015/16
6 Cadji DUNN Imalu 1991/92
6 Danny MUNKARA Pumaralli 1980/81
6 Francis X. PURUNTATAMERI Tuyu 1993/94
6 Graham PURUNTATAMERI Imalu 1992/93
6 Kim PURUNTATAMERI Tapalinga 1986/87
6 Lorenzo KERINAIUA Tapalinga 1985/86 Replay
6 Osmond MACKAY Imalu 1978/79
6 Osmond MACKAY Imalu 1985/86 Drawn match
6 Patrick PURUNTATAMERI Imalu 1984/85
5 Charles TIPUNGWUTI Pumaralli 1975/76
5 Dennis TIPAKALIPA Imalu 1993/94
5 Kim PURUNTATAMERI Tapalinga 1985/86 Drawn match
5 Lorenzo KERINAIUA Tapalinga 1986/87
5 Lorenzo KERINAIUA Tapalinga 1986/87
5 Nelson MUNGATOPI Tapalinga 1987/88
5 Osmond MACKAY Imalu 1978/79
5 Patrick PURUNTATAMERI Imalu 1983/84
5 Pius TIPUNGWUTI Imalu 1973/74
5 Shane KERINAIUA Pumaralli 2005/06

Best and Fairest - Ted Whitten Medallist
Year Player Club
1969/70 Michael Phillip Babui Tapalinga
1970/71 Walter Kerinaiua Tuyu
1971/72 Januarius Puantulura Tapalinga
1972/73 John Bosco Tipaloura Irrimaru
1973/74 Hughie Kerinaiua Tapalinga
1974/75 Marius Purantatamerri Imalu
1975/76 Hughie Kerinaiua Tapalinga
1976/77 Hughie Kerinaiua Tapalinga
1977/78 Ian Joseph Kerinaiua Tuyu
1978/79 Bruno Pilakui Irrimaru
1979/80 SavioTimeapatua Tuyu
1980/81 Teddy Portaminni Irrimaru
1981/82 Vivian Kerinaiua Tuyu
1982/83 Vivian Kerinaiua Tuyu
1983/84 Bruno Pilakui Taracumbi
1984/85 Mark Virgil Puautjimi Pumaralli
1985/86 Bruno Pilakui Taracumbi
1986/87 Vivian Kerinaiua Tuyu
1987/88 Marcellino Pipungwuti Irrimaru
1988/89 Paul Raphael Tipungwuti Irrimaru
1989/90 Bonaventure Timaepature Tuyu
1990/91 Brendan Higgins Irrimaru
1991/92 Timothy Pupangarmirri Tuyu
1992/93 Lawrence Warlapinni Pumaralli
Douglas Tipungwuti Irrimaru
1993/94 Emmanuel Tipungwuti Irrimaru
1994/95 Graham Puruntatameri Imalu
1995/96 Marius Puruntatameri Pumaralli
1996/97 Sebastian Tipungwuti Irrimaru
1997/98 Graham Puruntatameri Tapalinga
1998/99 Nathan Pilakui Tapalinga
1999/00 Nathan Pilakui Tapalinga
2000/01 Valentine Puautjimi Ranku
2001/02 Paul Johnson Tapalinga
2002/03 Freddie Puruntatameri Pumaralli
Ephrem Tipungwuti Tapalinga
2003/04 Noel Galarla Imalu
2004/05 Rupert Pupangmirri Tuyu
2005/06 David Kantilla Irrimaru
2006/07 John - Paul Kelantumama Irrimaru
2007/08 Cameron Kerinaiua Tuyu
2008/09 No Award
2009/10 Nathan DanielS Mulluwurri
Mitchell Punatulura Walama
2010/11 Roy Farmer Mulluwurri
2011/12 Aaron Daniels Mulluwurri
2012/13 Hector Tipungwuti Ranku
2013/14 Alex Lantjin Wadeye Magic Tie
2013/14 Jack Munkara Pumaralli Tie
2014/15 Juan Orsto* Walama
2015/16 Clancy Puruntatameri Walama Tie
2015/16 Kevin Portaminni Imalu Tie
2016/17 HarleyPuruntatameri Ranku Tie
2016/17 Clement Kerinaiua Tuyu Tie
2017/18

Note: Kenny Puruntatamerri (Tapalinga) received most votes but was suspended during the season
Brother John Pye Award (Best-on-Ground in Grand Final)
Year Name Club
1971/72 Philip PATLIS Pumarali
1972/73 Henry Paul KERINAIUA Tapalinga
1973/74 Antonio TIPILOURA Pumarali
1974/75 Giovani TIPUNGWUTI Tuyu
1975/76 Antonio TIPILOURA Pumarali
1976/77 Jules KERINAIUA Tapalinga
1977/78 Hughie Paul KERINAIUA Pumarali
1978/79 Osmond MACKAY Imalu
1979/80 Pat KANTILLA Pumarali
1980/81 John RIOLI Imalu
1981/82 Patrick PURUNTATAMERI Imalu
1982/83 Nilas KERINAIUA Tapalinga
1983/84 Patrick PURUNTATAMERI Imalu
1984/85 Marcellino TIPUNGWUTI Irramaru
1985/86 Kim PURUNTATAMERI Tapalinga Draw
1985/86 Bernard John BABUI Tapalinga Replay
1986/87 Nilas KERINAIUA Tapalinga
1987/88 James PUANTULURA Tapalinga
1988/89 Cameron ROSS Imalu
1989/90 Henry DUNN Imalu
1990/91 Adam KERINAIUA Tapalinga
1991/92 Cecil PURUNTATAMERI Imalu
1992/93 Douglas TIPUNGWUTI Irramaru
1993/94 Marius PURUNTATAMERI jnr Imalu
1994/95 Brian PILAKUI Irramaru
1995/96 Graham PURUNTATAMERI Imalu
1996/97 Ephrem T. TIPUNGWUTI Irrimuru
1997/98 Andrew KERINAIUA Tapalinga
1998/99 Pascal TIPUNGWUTI Imalu
1999/00 Timothy PALIPUAMINNI Pumarali
2000/01 Valentine PUAUTJMINI Ranku
2001/02 Paul JOHNSON Tapalinga
2002/03 Gilbert ALIMANKINNI Pumarali
2003/04 Robert CUNNINGHAM Tapalinga
2004/05 Romeo ULLUNGURA Tuyu
2005/06 Shane KERINAUIA Pumarali
2006/07 Thomas SIMON Muluwurri
2007/08 Pascal TIPUNGWUTI Imalu
2008/09 Brad PALIPUAMINNI Tapalinga
2009/10 Andrea PUAUTJIMI (Jnr) Tapalinga
2010/11 Alex PURUNTATAMERI Imalu
2011/12 Joseph BOURKE Imalu
2012/13 Gabriel HENRY Imalu
2013/14 Michael DUNN Tuyu
2014/15 Gary TIPUNGWUTI Walama
2015/16 Lindsay MOREEN Muluwurri
2016/17 Rodney MOREEN Muluwurri
2017/18 Paddy HEENAN Tikilaru Dockers

Mitchell Lee Memorial Shield (Best First-Year Player)
Year Name Club
1988/89 Lionel DULLA Irrimaru
1989/90 Paul R. TIPUNGWUTI Irrimaru
1990/91 Emmanuel TIPUNGWUTI Irrimaru
1991/92 Dion DANIELS Taracumbi
1992/93 Graham PURUNTATAMERI Imalu
1993/94 Neil BLACK Taracumbi
1994/95 Robert MUNKARA Ranku
1995/96 Richard PURUNTATAMERI Irrimaru
1996/97 Shane OLIVER Pumaralli
1997/98 Adam WHITLAM Ranku
1998/99 Johnathan AH KIT Taracumbi
1999/00 Ephrem TIPUNGWUTI Tuyu
2000/01 Ivan FERNANDO jnr Nguiu
2001/02 James WARLAPINI Pumaralli
2002/03 Trevor WILSON Muluwurri
2003/04 Wayne Joseph PILAKUI Tuyu
2004/05 Roy KANTILLA Ranku
2005/06 Juan ORSTO Tuyu
2006/07 John - Patrick MUNKARRA Pumaralli
2007/08 Adonis WOMMATAKIMI Tuyu
2008/09 No Award
2009/10 Mitchell PUNATULURA Walama
2010/11 Kenny WARLAPINNI Tuyu
2011/12 Jessiah TIMEAPATUA Melville Tie
2011/12 Jack MUNKARA Pumaralli Tie
2012/13 Alex KANTILLA Imalu Tie
2012/13 Clancy PURUNTATAMERI Walama Tie
2013/14 Joey HENRY Muluwurri
2014/15 John PUPANGIMIRRI Tuyu
2015/16 Peter LYNCH Tapalinga
2016/17 Pio PAUATJIMI Walama Tie
2016/17 Quinton ROSS Imalu Tie
2017/18

Edmund Johnson Medal (Best Backman)
1998/99 Thomas KERINAIUA Tapalinga
1999/00 Thomas KERINAIUA Tapalinga
2000/01 Andrew KERINAIUA Tapalinga
2001/02 Guiseppe TIPILOURA Pumaralli
2002/03 Hughie KERINAIUA Tapalinga
2003/04 Jack TIPUNGWUTI Wurankuwula
2004/05 Romeo ULLUNGURA Tuyu
2005/06 Jamie FERNANDO Muluwurri
2006/07 Ambrose MUNKARA Walama
2007/08 Gareyh LORENZO Pumaralli
2008/09 No Award
2009/10 Romolo KANTILLA Tapalinga
2010/11 Andrea PUAUTJIMI Jr Ranku
2011/12 Reginald TIPILOURA Pumaralli Tie
2011/12 Shaun AUSTRAL Walama Tie
2012/13 Kevin PORTAMINNI Imalu Tie
2012/13 Michael KALANTUMAMA Walama Tie
2013/14 Terry FERNANDO Ranku
2014/15
2015/16 Allan Gerry KERINAIUA Tapalinga Tie
2015/16 Anthony KERINAIUA Tapalinga Tie
2016/17 Clement KERINAIUA
2017/18

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