William Briston

William Briston
Hall of fame

William Briston


William “Ninny” Briston was a champion of the Darwin Buffaloes Football Club and a multi NT representative player admired by all followers of the code. His brilliance and courage throughout his career, overcoming his small stature to beat the best his opposition could throw at him, including Victorian Football League (VFL) and AFL clubs, attracted fans to Buffaloes and representative games.

A standout in underage competitions, winning the 1979/80 and 1980/81 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Under 18 Abala Medal, he represented the NT at Secondary Schoolboys (1979) and Teal Cup (1980) levels and in 1980 Briston made his Premier League debut owning the Buffaloes' roving position for 10 years. 

Briston won the NTFL Nichols Medal in 1983/84 and finished third in 1986/87, aligning with his two club best and fairest wins in 1983/84 and 1986/87.

He played in six Premier League grand finals, captaining the side to the 1988/89 flag while also being captain of the club in 1987/88 and 1989/90. In 1983, Briston played with the Pioneer Football Club in the Alice Springs-based Central Australian Football League (CAFL) competition.

By his retirement, Briston had played 171 NTFL Premier League games, kicking 245 goals.

The jockey sized rover played in 10 NT representative matches, including the watershed Bicentennial Carnival victories over Tasmania and the Victorian Football Association (VFA) in 1988. Between 1985 against Glenelg, and his last representative match against the VFA in Melbourne in 1994, Briston was a core player in hugely talented teams with Hall of Fame players such as the late Maurice Rioli, Michael McLean and Michael Long.

Briston played against southern major league clubs Glenelg, Sydney, North Melbourne, Essendon (twice) and Port Adelaide. He was captain against Port Adelaide and vice-captain on three occasions.

Nothing brought as much pride as his selection in the Darwin Buffaloes Team of the Century, a club for whom his family links go back to the club’s creation.


Clubs played for
Darwin Buffaloes
Nichols Medal 1983/84
Darwin Buffaloes Team of the Century 2016