A Tiwi Islands footy adventure

When you plan your around-Australia itinerary, you’re guided by when and where the footy is on, right? This week the Gaffney-Toose family share a little about what they’ve been up to –

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Friday 18th November 2016

The Tiwi Islands (Bathurst and Melville) has a population of around 3,000 people and consists of four communities. One of which is Pirlangimpie, home to both the Long and the Rioli families who have so far produced 3 Norm Smith medallists. It is also the first place 8-year-old Sullivan (Hawthorn supporter and Cyril Rioli fan) wanted to go when we said we were going to travel around Australia. The second place was Tasmania and now that I know his travel aspirations revolve around the Hawthorn Football Club, I can only assume that trip would also coincide with a football match.

As it turns out a trip to the remote Tiwi Islands, 80km north of Darwin fits better into our plans than Hobart, NTFL football season is October – March and when there is a football game on you can visit without a permit/tour guide. So the moons have aligned and Sullivan gets his wish to visit the Tiwi Islands (he is pleased but pretty much oblivious to his good fortune). We are off to see the Tiwi Bombers play the Waratahs on Saturday 19th November (Round 7). Keeping in mind our biggest trip on the ocean as a family to date is the Manly Ferry and 80km is not a quick trip, we are hoping for very good weather.

tiwiislands4Saturday 19th November 2016

The ocean was like glass, so it was happy travelling. The kids saw a turtle swimming in the ocean as we approached the island. Storm clouds and lightning during the game threatened rain, but none eventuated. It was hot (38 degrees) and really humid, the runners had “water carrier” written on their backs and they looked fit. The Tiwi Bombers are yet to win a game and the Waratahs are a quality team (legend has it that the Queen turned up in a red and white outfit (their colours) on an official visit to watch them win the premiership in 1977).

tiwiislands2The second quarter was the Tiwis best, where they came from behind to kick 7 straight goals. We were standing behind the goals for that quarter, and when they went forward, they were impressively fast. The Waratahs responded and at three-quarter time the Tiwis were 10 points down. The last quarter was exciting and the Tiwis slotted a tight goal in the last minute to level the scores at 99 points, the siren sounded and it was a draw. The locals were happy, but we left them to catch the ferry with the lively Tiwi girls team (premiers last year and on top of the ladder this year) who were heading to Darwin for a Sunday game.

The Gaffney-Toose family

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