Vale Willie Rioli Snr


Chairman of AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) Sean Bowden today said the league and the game was in mourning for NTFL Player Life Member, Nichols Medallist, multi-Premiership and representative player, and Tiwi Islands Football League (TIFL) President Willie Rioli Snr. 

Willie Snr passed away yesterday evening after suffering a heart attack – he is survived by his loving wife Georgina, daughter Nakita, son Willie Jnr and his grandsons. 
During his playing career he had success with the NTFL’s St Mary’s Football Club and WAFL’s Fremantle South, became a member of the 1988 NT Bi-Centennial team, was selected in multiple NT representative sides and was drafted by Hawthorn Football Club in the early 90’s. 
After an outstanding playing career, Rioli filled a range of roles across football at the Tiwi Islands, including Head Coach for NTFL’s Tiwi Bombers, Premiership Coach for TIFL’s Imalu Tigers and later he became the TIFL President.  

“Willie was a proud Tiwi man – always respectful and holding to the strongest of values in the way he conducted himself,” Bowden said. 
“He was a valuable, passionate and down to earth mentor for the footy community on the Islands and it was a privilege to play against him and in later years, work beside him.”
Head of AFLNT Sam Gibson paid tribute to Willie’s Territory football legacy.
“We will long remember Willie’s contribution to football. His legacy contributions included putting his hand up as the 2021/22 TIFL President and leading the competition through a COVID interrupted season,” Gibson said.
“Willie was greatly loved across the Territory football landscape and our thoughts are with the Rioli family at this tragic time for them and the broader football community.”
Vale Willie. 


Football Achievements:

  • Four time premiership player for St Mary's in seasons 1987/88, 2002/03, 2003/04 and 2004/05 as well as playing in the 2005/06 GF.
  • Played 104 games and kicked 165 goals for St Mary's, played 91 games and kicked 96 goals for Waratah and played six games and kicked a goal for Tiwi Bombers. 
  • NTFL Player Life Member
  • Played four representative games and kicked a goal (Australian Amateurs 1988, Essendon 1989, St Kilda 1990 and Essendon 1990)
  • Played 48 games and kicked 53 goals for South Fremantle in 1989, 1990 and 1994.