Contributed by: Wesley Hull Thursday, July 28 2016 @ 08:06 am ACST
Some of the greatest names in AFL/VFL and state football have made their way to the game from the Northern Territory. Not usually a location celebrated in the same tones as Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia or even Tasmania, the Territory has given us icons, legends and just some very good footballers.
Try this: Maurice Rioli (Richmond), Cyril Rioli (Hawthorn), Michael Long (Essendon), Nathan Buckley (Collingwood), Andrew Mcleod (Adelaide), Peter Burgoyne (Port Adelaide), Joel Bowden (Richmond) and so many more greats hail from the Northern Territory.
A brief look at the newest draftees, trades and rookies last year also boasts names like Jed Anderson (North Melbourne), Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (Essendon) and Daniel Rioli (Richmond) who came to the game from the NT.
The following press release from the AFLNT details the upcoming celebration of Northern Territorian footy talent wth the announcement of the Top 40 which will soon be reduced further to the greatest 22 Territorian players.
Following months of robust discussion and committee debate, AFLNT this morning unveiled the Top 40 footballers for the Northern Territory Government AFLNT Team of the Century at the historic Gardens Oval.
The list includes NT football identities that established their careers on the national stage and also pays respect to the local men who made their name in the Territory.
Featuring in the Top 40 and present at the announcement this morning is Michael Long, winner of two AFL Premierships with the Essendon Football Club, a Norm Smith medallist and Australian Football Hall of Fame inductee.
Dual-Nichols medallist Jarred Ilett and AFLNT Hall of Fame members, Russell Jeffrey and Bennie LewFatt, joined Long at the announcement.
The Top 40 includes three members of the Rioli family, two familiar LewFatt names, and Ilett brothers Jarred and Cameron.
All Australian representatives Andrew McLeod, Michael McLean, Cadji Dunn, and Central Australian Joel Bowden also feature.
Bowden is not the only Central Australian who made the list; Henry Peckham, who is often considered to be one of Central Australia’s finest footballers, joins him.
AFLNT board member and Team of the Century Selection Committee member, Shaun Hardy, said it was no-easy task getting to a top 40.
“We would like to congratulate each member of the top 40 on such an achievement. Everyone selected has made an impact on our game, not only in the Territory, but also all around the country,” Mr Hardy said.
An earlier announcement in April saw selectors identify the top 100 players from the past 100 years, following months of discussion.
“We initially thought the process of getting to a top 100 was difficult, you can imagine the debate around the table as we reduced the list to 40,” Mr Hardy said.
“The Committee feels those selected truly represent the best-of-the-best, and with the support of the NT Government, we are able to celebrate with Territory football fans a once-in-a-century occasion.
Minister for Sport and Recreation Gary Higgins MLA said:
“I commend the Northern Territory Government AFLNT Team of the Century Selection Committee on undertaking such an arduous task,” Mr Higgins said.
“AFL plays such a huge role in the lives of Territorians and this team will be a real testament to the long list of champion Northern Territory footballers throughout the years.
“The Northern Territory has produced some of the best footballers to have ever played the game and I look forward to seeing the final team when it is announced in September,” Mr Higgins said.
Five men are vying for the Coach of the Century, including John Taylor, Aldo Rossetto, Richard Taylor, Mark Motlop and George Liveris.
The Team of the Century Selection Committee comprises Shaun Hardy, Lincoln Jenkin, Charlie King, Bennie (Walter) LewFatt, Grey Morris and Jenny Sinclair.
A gala dinner will be held on Friday 2nd September, when a 22-man team and coach is named as the inaugural Northern Territory Government AFLNT Team of the Century.
The Top 40:
Jimmy Anderson (1954 – 1971)
Michael Athanasiou (1979 – 2000)
Joe Bonson (1953 – 1970)
Joel Bowden (1993 – 2009)
William 'Ninny' Briston (1979 – 1991)
Nathan Buckley (1990 – 2007)
Peter Burgoyne (1994 – 2010)
Ted Cooper (1953 – 1969)
Reuben Cooper Snr. (1917 – 1939)
Joe Daby (1969 – 1982)
Bill Dempsey (1958 – 1976)
Cadji Dunn (1980 – 1995)
Dennis Dunn (1981 – 1999)
Michael Graham (1971 – 1987)
Cameron Ilett (1997 – current)
Jarred Ilett (1993 – 2016)
Russell Jeffrey (1980 – 2001)
Edmund Johnston (1952 – 1969)
David Kantilla Snr. (1958 – 1973)
Clifford 'Gympie' LewFatt (1960 – 2004)
Walter LewFatt Snr. (1930 – 1947)
Michael Long (1980 – 2001)
Noel Long (1982 – 2000)
Kelvin Maher (1990 – 2005)
Gilbert McAdam (1985 – 2000)
Michael McLean (1978 – 2010)
Andrew McLeod (1991 – 2011)
Mark Motlop (1975 – 2010)
Henry Peckham (1946 – 1958)
Mike Poulter (1962 – 1982)
Ronald 'Barney' Quall (1970 – 1985)
Maurice Rioli (1974 – 1995)
Cyril Rioli Jnr. (2005 – current)
Cyril Rioli Snr. (1982 – current)
Billy Roe (1951 – 1971)
Mathew Stokes (1999 – current)
John 'Bubba' Tye (1968 – 1980)
Iggy Vallejo (1997 – current)
Benny Vigona (1975 – 1986)
Darryl White (1990 – 2016)