Reuben Cooper Senior

The Territory sporting icon Reuben Cooper Senior is considered by many to be the father of football in Darwin and the first indigenous football player to play in the Top End.

Reuben Cooper Senior attended Prince Alfred College in Adelaide, was Captain of the school's football team and was acknowledged as one of the best footballers to have attended the school.

The most high profile sportsman in Darwin from 1915 to 1939, he was a talented swimmer and all-round athlete before focusing on football. His participation in the sport was instrumental in removing the racial barriers prevalent at the time.

His footballing career began in 1917 as a foundation member of Waratah Football Club before transferring to Vesteys in 1918/19 where he was Vice-Captain in 1919/20 and took over Captaincy in 1920 for three years.

An outstanding defender and utility player who the opposition struggled to contain, Cooper Senior won the Club Best and Fairest at Vesteys in 1921/22, and won the NTFL League Best and Fairest that same year.

A prolific goal scorer he was the leading Club and League Goal Kicker in 1926/27. A legend of the game, a courageous groundbreaker and the first and most respected Indigenous footballers in the early years of football in the NT, we are proud to name Rueben Cooper Senior in the AFLNT Team of the Century.