Born on Melville Island but now a legend in Tigerland, the late Maurice Rioli had a short stint with St Mary’s before being snapped up by WAFL club South Fremantle where he played 168 games, scoring 133 goals and twice winning the Simpson medal in 1980 and 1981.
Recognising his abundance of natural talent and flair for the game, Richmond Tigers recruited the talented Tiwi where he played 118 games in six seasons and scored 80 goals wearing the famous yellow and black. Rioli won the club’s Best and Fairest in 1982 and 1983 and was awarded the Norm Smith medal for his outstanding performance in the 1982 Grand Final.
Rioli was sublimely skilled, often seeming to glide across the turf, but he was also tough as nails, a quality frequently called upon in the Victorian football climate of the 1980s. Highly decorated, he was runner-up in the 1983 Brownlow Medal, named an All-Australian in 1983, 1986 and 1988.
Proving his versatility and talent once again, Rioli also received the best player award in the 1984 International Rules Series against Ireland.
He represented the Northern Territory eight times, captaining the team five times and in 1990 he returned to the NTFL to captain Waratah Football Club, coaching the team two years later. In 2005 he was named in the AFL Indigenous Team of the Century, a richly deserved reward for a man who achieved so much in the football world.