AFLNT inducts seven new Life Members

2019 Life Members at the lunch

AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) has awarded seven Life Memberships in a special luncheon held at the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre on 2018/19 NTFL Men’s Grand Final day.

Inducted under the Honourary Life Membership category for their service to football were Andrew Baker and Michael McLean. 

Fondly known in the football world as "Mago", Michael Mc Lean, was the first player to be given the “Magic“ tag for 183 games at VFL and AFL level (95 games with Western Bulldogs and 88 games with Brisbane Bears/Lions). And over 18 years of service at the top level his style of football more than justified the nickname.

In 1994 McLean captained the Indigenous All Stars team in their win over Collingwood in front of 11,000 people in Darwin and was named in the AFL Indigenous Team of the Century. He also played 14 Ansett Cup and five State of Origin matches. 

McLean was given the nickname "Magic" by good friend and former teammate Doug Hawkins and is a member of the AFLNT Team of the Century and AFLNT Hall of Fame.

Baker was a Barkly legend for over 24 years, and his record also includes success across numerous other competitions, including in Alice Springs.

He played 226 games for Sporties Spitfires, which included seven premierships and a best on ground medal in one. He was also an inaugural member of the NT Thunder squad before an injury kept him to just one game.

Baker won the BAFL competition’s best and fairest medal five times and was the leading goalkicker on three occasions. He also represented the Barkly throughout regional areas of the Territory, often travelling over 1,000 kilometres to play games of footy in two separate competitions on the one weekend. He finished with seven premierships in the NT. 

A former member of the AFL Barkly Advisory Board, Baker also spent 20 years providing accommodation, advice, transport, food and mentorship to many up and coming footballers.

Five player Life Memberships were also awarded to St Mary’s Benjamin Rioli and Ryan Smith and Tiwi Bombers’ Patrick Heenan, Simon Munkara and Ross Tungatalum for reaching 200 games.

Munkara played all of his games in the NTFL while Rioli, Smith, Heenan and Tungatalum all reached their milestone playing NTFL and NT Thunder.

AFLNT CEO Stuart Totham said he was delighted to present the awards at the Luncheon. 

“The Life Members inducted today join a list of Territory greats. Their names and achievements will be remembered by many, and it’s a testament to their character and dedication that they have been awarded AFLNT Life Membership.

"We were also very privileged to hear from former Sydney Swans champion, Michael O'Loughlin who delighted the crowd with stories of his time in Darwin as a teenager and his humorous disappointment at being drafted to Sydney. We thank him, MC Richard Champion and all those in attendance today, life members from years back to today's latest group of inductees for coming along," he said. 

Player Life Members

Patrick Heenan – Tiwi Bombers
Commenced 2015/2016 Season
Waratah – 27 games
Palmerston – 39 games
Tiwi Bombers – 105 games
NT Thunder – 54 games
TOTAL – 223 games

Simon Munkara – Tiwi Bombers
Commenced 1999/2000 Season
Darwin – 88 games
Tiwi Bombers – 114 games
Wanderers – 13 games
NT Thunder – 11 games
TOTAL – 226 games

Ross Tungatalum – Tiwi Bombers
Commenced 2006/2007 Season
St Mary’s – 36 games
Tiwi Bombers – 148 games
NT Thunder – 25 games
TOTAL – 209 games

Ryan Smith – St Mary’s
Commenced 2005/2006 Season
St Mary’s – 155 games
NT Thunder – 67 games
TOTAL – 222 games

Benjamin Rioli – St Mary’s
Commenced 2010/2011 Season
St Mary’s – 122 games
NT Thunder – 110 games
TOTAL – 232 games

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