Br. John Pye and Br. Andy Howley introduced Australian rules football to Bathurst and Melville islands in 1941. The locals quickly took to the game and the first dedicated ground was built in 1942.
The Tiwi Islands Grand Final is an event held in March each year that attracts up to 3,000 spectators and is a tourist attraction for the NT. The Tiwi Australian Football League has 900 participants out of a community of about 3,000, the highest football participation rate in Australia.
Tiwi footballers are renknowned for exquisite one touch skills. Many of the players have a preference for participating barefoot. Many of the players also play for the St Mary’s Football Club in Darwin’s Northern Territory Football League.
Tiwi Islands Football League
The Tiwi Islands lie 80 km to the north of the Australian mainland in the Arafura Sea. The island group consists of two large inhabited islands (Melville and Bathurst), and 9 smaller uninhabited islands. Melville Island is Australia’s second largest island after Tasmania. Inhabited before European settlement by the Tiwi indigenous Australians, there are approximately 3,000 people on the islands.
- Imalu Tigers
- Muluwurri Magpies
- Pumarali Thunder & Lightning
- Ranku Eagles
- Tapalinga Superstars
- Tuyu Buffaloes
- Walama Bulldogs