Cyril Rioli Jnr
A member of the famous Rioli football family, Cyril Rioli Jnr played in a remarkable 12 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Premier League premierships between 1983/84 and 2003/04, earning the best on ground Chaney Medal in 1990/91.
In addition, “Junior” played in another four NTFL grand finals for a total of 16 season deciders, the first of these as a 16-year-old.
Travelling weekly from Garden Point on Melville Island to play or train, Rioli’s Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) and representative record is outstanding.
He led the NT to its first Primary Schoolboys National title in addition to winning the Championship Best Player Medal. His 1982 Secondary Schoolboy and 1983 Teal Cup captaincy reflected his natural leadership qualities which resulted in St Mary’s giving him the role in 1996/97.
Rioli represented the Northern Territory on eight occasions in the famous Australia Day AFL Challenges against Essendon, North Melbourne, Geelong, Melbourne, the ACT, and Collingwood as well as Tasmania and the Victorian Football Association (VFA) at the Bicentennial Carnival in 1988. He was a member of the victorious 1994 Aboriginal All Stars which defeated Collingwood.
Rioli secured a Nichols Medal win in 1995/96 shared with teammate Marty Christensen, which underlined the role he played in the dominant 80s and 90s era of the St Mary’s Football Club. During this era, Rioli won the club’s Ludwig Best and Fairest Medal twice, once in 1987/88 and again in 1995/96 with top-three finishes in multiple seasons.
Rioli played his 200th NTFL match in November 1998 to earn an AFLNT Player Life Membership after being awarded St Mary’s Life Membership in 1995.
The champion rover/defender played in a West Australian Football League (WAFL) Colts Premiership for South Fremantle, following brothers Sibby, Maurice and later John before playing just 10 games at WAFL League level when continually handicapped by chronic hamstring problems.
Following his retirement from the elite level, Rioli continued to play right up to the 2016/17 NTFL season with the Jabiru Bombers at age 50.
The Australian Football career review of Cyril Rioli Junior would not be complete without acknowledging his late father Cyril Kalippa Senior earning the inaugural Life Membership of the Tiwi Bombers Football Club nor the performance of his son Cyril “Junior Boy” Rioli in the AFL.
There is also his own honour of being named in the AFLNT Team of the Century in 2016.