Ri­o­lis in line for clash of is­lands


TER­RI­TORY foot­ball gets a big in­jec­tion of pas­sion and cul­ture when­ever St Mary’s and the Tiwi Bombers clash for pre­mier­ship points.

The NTFL foot­balling cousins have al­ready met in two grand fi­nals since the Ti­wis en­tered the com­pe­ti­tion in 2007-08, with the Melville Is­land based Ri­oli fam­ily pro­vid­ing play­ers for both sides.

To­day’s 2pm clash at Wur­ru­miyanga on Bathurst Is­land is no ex­cep­tion, with four Ri­o­lis likely to line up for St Mary’s in the cru­cial Round 6 clash.

St Mary’s cap­tain Shan­non Ri­oli will be joined by his brother Ben and cousins Bray­den and Mau­rice Jr for the NTFL show­piece.

“A few things have to fall into place, but that’s cer­tainly the plan at this stage,’’ Shan­non told the NT News.

“We’re look­ing for­ward to it.

“We haven’t lost over there and we’re keen to keep that record in­tact in what is al­ways a good game of footy when the Ri­o­lis play on the is­land against our own peo­ple.

“We didn’t play there last year in what is al­ways a good ex­pe­ri­ence, es­pe­cially for the guys that are new to the club.

“To go to the Ti­wis and ex­pe­ri­ence the footy cul­ture over there is im­por­tant, par­tic­u­larly if you’ve got a guy com­ing up from coun­try Vic­to­ria who has never seen that side of the Ter­ri­tory game be­fore.’’

Adding to the spec­ta­cle will be the ap­pear­ance of the AFL pre­mier­ship Cup, a tro­phy Wil­lie Ri­oli Jr was in­volved with as a player only six weeks ago.

“It will be a pretty spe­cial day, not just for the fam­ily but for all of the Tiwi Is­lands,’’ Shan­non said.

“Ev­ery time some­one does some­thing spe­cial it’s a big oc­ca­sion.

“And this time both is­lands will be able to cel­e­brate what Wil­lie has achieved with West Coast.’’

St Mary’s are chas­ing backto-back wins over the win­less Ti­wis for the first time this sea­son, fol­low­ing their gutsy win over Waratah.

“We want to get some mo­men­tum go­ing and even up the ledger to 3-3,’’ Shan­non said. “It will be a re­ward for the play­ers who have done the pre-sea­son work and the hard yards re­quired.

“Brent (coach Brent Re­nouf) is look­ing at it in blocks, one win in the first three games and two in the next three is our tar­get.’’

Jack Long, the pa­tri­arch of the Long fam­ily dy­nasty, will be driven around Tiwi Oval be­fore the first bounce to cel­e­brate his as­so­ci­a­tion with the Tiwi peo­ple.

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