St Marys - A Short History
St Marys Football Club
Recte Ad Metam
Aim for the middle
Welcome to the St Mays Football Club
The St Marys Football, Sporting and Social Club Inc. is located in the Northern Territory of Australia and competes
in the AFLNT (AFL Northern Territory)
Our season is from October to March (The Top End wet season). The Club has had a number of recognised players,
past greats and broken numerous Australian football records
The Club has been recognised as the most successful club in Australia winning a 31 League (A Grade) premierships
which is approximately one every two years since they commenced playing in 1952/53
In the NT Pioneers in the CAFL have the same number of premierships as St Marys 31 each but Pioneers (commenced
in 1947) and St Marys (commenced in 1952) and since St Marys started they lead the race in the NT with 31 - 27 ironically
both teams wear Green and Gold.
St Marys Football Club
was formed in 1952 for the 1952/53 season and played their first game against Buffaloes in round 2 on the 25/10/1952 who defeated
them 16-22(118) to 7-10 (52).Saints had the Bye in round 1. Saints have come a long way since then as up to the end of the
season 2013/14 St Marys have played 1133 matches for 821 wins 303 losses and 9 Draws. They have not had a draw since the 18/11/1979.
The Club was formed to
provide an opportunity for Tiwi Islanders who were working in Darwin for the Armed Services to play football.
With the exception of Wanderers
Football Club no other NTFL team would allow “full blood” Aboriginals to play in their team. There were four other
teams in the competition at the time (now the competition has eight).
Captained by the popular
entertainer and ex Chief Administrator Ted Egan AO and with their first Nichols Medallist Bill Roe BEM in the team, St Marys
won their first Premiership in 1954/55, the first of 48 Grand Final appearances for the Green and Gold’s to the end
of the 2015/16 season.
The Club prides itself
on the “locally produced” content of its league teams. Aborigines have always played an important part in the
composition of the Club and have always been in the majority in all grades since formation.
Since entering the competition,
St Marys players have won the NTFL’s highest individual award, the Nichols Medal 24 times with Pat Murphy winning back
to back medals in 1971/72 and 1972/73 and Jarred Ilett wining two in 2004/05 and 2007/08.
This total exceeds any other Club's tally since 1952/53 and contributes to the Club's reputation of a skilful team.
The first medal winner,
Bill Roe in 1954/55 became the first Darwin player to gain
State selection when he joined East Perth and represented Western Australia. He was a member of East Perth’s 1956 League Premiership side before a car accident injury cut short his football
The late David Kantilla
from Bathurst Island was another Saints champion to succeed at interstate level when representing
South Australia on four occasions in the sixties. David played for South Adelaide in their last Premiership in 1964.
more recent years the late Maurice Rioli South Fremantle and Richmond, Benny Vigona, Basil Campbell and Willie Roe have moved
to Perth to join South Fremantle and represent Western Australia with distinction.
Rioli has also played league football for South Fremantle, Noel Long for East
Perth and West Torrens, Cadji Dunn for South Fremantle. Warren Campbell played for South Fremantle and a couple of games for North Melbourne,
Michael Long West Torrens and Essendon. Peter Burgoyne Port Adelaide and Ronnie Burns West Perth, Geelong and Adelaide are
all products of the skilful St Marys teams.
the AFL draft of 2001 Xavier Clarke (Jnr) now retired was picked at number 5 by St Kilda to be the highest Draft pick ever
to that time of a Territorian and since then has been joined by his brother Raphael at St Kilda. In 2007 Cyril Rioli (Junior
Boy) was another St Marys player who was picked up by Hawthorn and who has played in 4 AFL premierships to continue the tradition
of St Marys producing yet another talented junior. Since then Austin Woneamirri (Melbourne), Ross Tungatalum (St Kilda), Jake
Long (Michael’s Son) (Essendon) and Daniel Rioli (Richmond)
Since joining the competition
in 1952/53 season St Marys have become the NTFL’s most successful club winning 31 League premierships, 5 Ladies premierships
(Began 2004/05), 2 Youth Girls (Began 2011/12), 15 Reserve Grade premierships (Began in 1953/54). Records are very sketchy on the junior competition prior to cyclone Tracy in 1974 but since then
St Marys have won 19 Senior Colts 41 Junior premierships. At different times since 1975/76 the Junior competitions each year
were often changed until the league settled on U/18’s, U/16’s, U/14’s since 1987/88. U/15’s and U/13’s
grades since 2005/06. These last two have now been disbanded and an U/16’s Div 2 and U/14’s Div 2 were added in
2010/11 U/12’s were also added in 2012/13 and Saints have picked up the first two premierships. The NTFL has also change
with A grade being called the Premier League and Reserve grade after the amalgamation of TEAFA became NTFL Div 1 and 2
The total number of premierships
in all grades now stands at 114 (Wall to Wall flags) this is to the end of season 2015/16. This total exceeds any other Club's
tally since 1952/53 Next closest is Darwin with 58 since 1952/53 (overall Darwin have won 66 since they started in 1918)
On the 9/01/2016 Iggy Vallejo
played his 315th St Mary’s game to overtake Michael Athanasiou as the St Mary’s club games record holder but Mick
extended the NTFL and Club games record to 328 while captain/coach of Darwin. Iggy now needs 4 more games to overtake Mick’s
NTFL games record as at the end of season 2015/16. Michael also holds the record of 12 Premiership medallions along with Cyril
Rioli (Jnr) and closely followed by Noel Long with eleven.
St Marys have had 16 players
that have played in 10 Grand Finals or more with Mick Athanasiou leading the way with 17 followed by Cyril Rioli Jnr with
16, Ted Liddy 14 and Iggy Vallejo with 14.
Dennis Dunn holds the NTFL
and Club record with a career total of 817. Dennis in one match against Waratahs in 1984/85 kicked 20 goals. On 46 occasions
Dennis kicked 7 or more goals in a game. Darren Ewing holds the NT record of
goals with 951 goals as at the end of the NTFL season 2015/16
Darren "Boof" Ewing
51 Games 203 Goals Palmerston
37 Games 148 Goals St Marys
3 Games 1
Goal Foxtel Matches
Games 599 Goals NT Thunder (Broke Dennis Dunn’s record with his third goal against
Sydney University on 20/06/2015) (Totals up to the
End of the NTFL season 2015/16 on 19/03/2016)
an average of 4.24 goals per game.
Games 817 Goals St Marys
Games 41 Goals Representative Games (Before Thunder's formation)
an average of 3.97 goals per game
The Long Family created
history on Saturday 4th December 1999 when Noel ran onto Football Park Mararra and played the family’s 1000th NTFL’s recognised First Grade Game although Jack (Snr) played probably
in excess of 200 games himself but all his playing records were lost through Cyclone Tracy. He is only recognised as having
played 36 first grade games. Jack started with St Marys in 1964/65, and finished his career in 1978/79 and he played in 9
Grand Finals. (3 winning and 6 loosing ones).
The family has 44 (forty-four)
NTFL League Premierships among them. The 1000 games do not include Michael’s 190 games with Essendon or the brothers
53 first grade games in SA and WA or the family’s 37 representative games and the 384 played in the various other grades
(total 1664 games) plus 200 odd Jack Snr played
Then in Rd 5 on the 8th of November 2003 Steven, Brian, John, Noel, Chris,
Michael and P J created history as brothers when Michael and PJ led the side onto
Marrara against Darwin to play a combined total of 1000 NTFL
14 and 5
1983/84, 1984/85, 1985/86, 1986/87, 1987/88, 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1993/94, 1994/95, (5) 1995/96(5).
1983/84, 1984/85, 1985/86, 1986/87, 1987/88, 1989/90, 1990/91.
3,4 and 13
1989/90(3), 1990/91(3), 1993/94(4), 1994/95(13), 1995/96(13), 1996/97(13).
1984/85, 1986/87, 1989/90.
1986/87, 1987/88, 1989/90, 1990/91.
35 and 8
1986/87 (35),1987/88 (8)
N.T.F.L. League Matches
Note: The numbers in brackets
are the jumper numbers that they wore in that particular season
After 42 years Vic Ludwig
OAM retired as the president in 2004. As far as we know he has become the longest serving president in Australia if not the
World in any sport beating L.A. Adamson who was president of the Victorian Amateur Football Association from 1896 - 1932 (37
John Taylor deserves a
special mention as coach. In 13 consecutive season, he coached St Marys to 11 premierships, once R/U (1992/93) and one 3rd.
(1988/89). In the preliminary final of 1988/89 the seven Long brothers all played. He coached Saints for 252 games for 229
wins and 23 losses a winning % ratio of 90.87 puts him in the “Don Bradman” class of Australian Football and to
go with his eleven league premierships John also coached St Marys to six umpire’s carnival wins.
One season that deserves
a special mention in St Marys history is season 1978/79 when on one glorious Saturday in March 1979 the Gods smiled and the
Heavens rained premiership flags as St Marys won the League, the Reserves, the Senior Colts (now U/18’s), the Junior
Colts (now U/16’s) and the U/14’s premierships. This is the only time one club has won all flags in the one season.
The result in the Reserves at full time on the scoreboard had both teams tied until the goal umpires confirmed that St Marys
had won by one point
Five other seasons that have been very rewarding were in 1984/85, 1985/86 and 2007/08 when Saints won five out
of seven premierships and 1987/88 and 1994/95 when Saints won 4 out of five premierships they fielded teams in.
Rick Nolan (the son of former North Melbourne Ruckman the late Mick Nolan) created history when taking over
as coach in 2013/14 he guided St Marys to undefeated Champions in his first season as coach. This has never been done before.
St Marys winning streak of 42 wins in a row chasing their record of 55 in a row set back in the early nineties
(1994 - 1997) ended in Rd 5 2014/15 when Nightcliff defeated them by 7 points
On the 30/11/2014 it was just over 35 years between St Marys 9th draw and 10th draw. In that time
St Marys played 703 games from when they drew on the 18/11/1979
against Waratahs with the scores tied up at 12-13 (85) a piece at the Showground to when they drew against Palmerston at Northline
Oval with the scores all tied up at 14-11 (95) with Luke Stapleton kicking the tying goal. In that time Saints had 544 wins
and 159 losses a winning ratio of 77.38% in that time. The winning ratio is nearly 8 games out of every 10 that St Marys played
This article was created for the love of the club by Rex Nixon