Club History

 Rex Nixon Bio (Club Historian)

I was born in Adelaide in 1947 and at a young age took a liking to our great game following Glenelg.

At Seventeen I joined the Royal Australian Navy in January 1965 and because of Glenelg’s colours I followed my beloved Richmond. After 20 years and many postings around Australia and 20 months in Papua New Guinea I was discharged and settled in Perth in 1985 after one wet season in 1984/85 here in Darwin.

My reason I did not stay longer back then was because I could only get a temporary job after my discharge from the Navy, but I vowed back then that I would one day return to Darwin to live. 

Normally I would have followed the Tigers, but due to a chance meeting (because of having a video copy of the underfeated champions of the 1984/85 season) and quick thinking by Allan Breed asking me would I like to become a member, that the rest is now history that I support such a great club with a great past history.

Having a fascination for records with our great game it has given me great pleasure to put together this web site with the help of Bill Ross.

I think everyone would agree that Australian Rules Football has made a very considerable impact on the development of the social and community life of Darwin especially since the telecasts of the V.F.L./A.F.L.

It is amazing that only one small publication exist on the most successful club in Australia the St Marys Football Club in Darwin or fondly known to their loyal band of supporters as "The Green Machine".

I like many fully realise that through my own football experiences of some fifty odd years through rain, mud, and fine weather that times, attitudes, standards and so on have changed markedly and will continue to change.

Never the less the St Marys Football Club is and has always been the "Family Club" and I must say how much I admire those who give so freely and generously of their time without any of the accolades.

I like many condemn, in the strongest possible terms, any of those clubs that do under the counter deals as no club in Darwin can support this and it is with great pleasure that the St Marys Football Club has shown how you can succeed for the love of the club by strongly supporting these ideals.

My proudest moment since joining St Marys in 1995 was when out of the blue it came as a thrill to me at the 2005/06 AGM that I was told I had been awarded Honoury Life Membership of this great club and in doing so had become only the 41st person to have this honour awarded to them in the clubs 54 year history to that time.

Rex to date continues to keep an up to date record on the club and volunteers a number of hours each season to keep his files accurate as possible. For full details on the history of the club and some NTFL information, please visit his site at

The club has produced a number players drafted to the AFL. Please see attached list.


St Marys - A Short History

 St Marys Football Club

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Welcome to the St Mays Football Club

The St Marys Football, Sporting and Social Club Inc. is located in the Northern Territory of Australia and competes in the AFLNT (AFL Northern Territory)

Our season is from October to March (The Top End wet season). The Club has had a number of recognised players, past greats and broken numerous Australian football records

The Club has been recognised as the most successful club in Australia winning a 30 League (A Grade) premierships which is approximately one every two years since they commenced playing in 1952/53

In the NT whilst Pioneers in the CAFL have more premierships than St Marys 31 to 30 Pioneers (commenced in 1947) and St Marys (commenced in 1952) but since St Marys started they lead the race in the NT with 30 - 27 ironically both teams wear Green and Gold.

St Marys Football Club was formed in 1952 for the 1952/53 season and played their first game against Buffaloes in round 2 on the 25/10/1952 who defeated them 16-22(118) to 7-10 (52).Saints had the Bye in round 1. Saints have come a long way since then as up to the end of the season 2013/14 St Marys have played 1133 matches for 821 wins 303 losses and 9 Draws. They have not had a draw since the 18/11/1979.

The Club was formed to provide an opportunity for Tiwi Islanders who were working in Darwin for the Armed Services to play football.

 With the exception of Wanderers Football Club no other NTFL team would allow “full blood” Aboriginals to play in their team. There were four other teams in the competition at the time (now the competition has eight).

Captained by the popular entertainer and ex Chief Administrator Ted Egan AO and with their first Nichols Medallist Bill Roe BEM in the team, St Marys won their first Premiership in 1954/55, the first of 45 Grand Final appearances for the Green and Gold’s to the end of the 2012/13 season.

The Club prides itself on the “locally produced” content of its league teams. Aborigines have always played an important part in the composition of the Club and have always been in the majority in all grades since formation.

Since entering the competition, St Marys players have won the NTFL’s highest individual award, the Nichols Medal 23 times with Pat Murphy winning back to back medals in 1971/72 and 1972/73 and Jarred Ilett wining two in 2004/05 and 2007/08. This total exceeds any other Club's tally since 1952/53 and contributes to the Club's reputation of a skilful team.

The first medal winner, Bill Roe in 1954/55 became the first Darwin player to gain State selection when he joined East Perth and represented Western Australia. He was a member of East Perth’s 1956 League Premiership side before a car accident injury cut short his football career.

The late David Kantilla from Bathurst Island was another Saints champion to succeed at interstate level when representing South Australia on four occasions in the sixties. David played for South Adelaide in their last Premiership in 1964.

In more recent years the late Maurice Rioli South Fremantle and Richmond, Benny Vigona, Basil Campbell and Willie Roe have moved to Perth to join South Fremantle and represent Western Australia with distinction.

Cyril Rioli has also played league football for South Fremantle, Noel Long for East Perth and West Torrens, Cadji Dunn for South Fremantle. Warren Campbell played for South Fremantle and a couple of games for North Melbourne, Michael Long West Torrens and Essendon. Peter Burgoyne Port Adelaide and Ronnie Burns West Perth, Geelong and Adelaide are all products of the skilful St Marys teams.

In the AFL draft of 2001 Xavier Clarke (Jnr) now retired was picked at number 5 by St Kilda to be the highest Draft pick ever to that time of a Territorian and since then has been joined by his brother Raphael at St Kilda. In 2007 Cyril Rioli (Junior Boy) was another St Marys player who was picked up by Hawthorn to continue the tradition of St Marys producing yet another talented junior

Since joining the competition in 1952/53 season St Marys have become the NTFL’s most successful club winning 30 League premierships, 5 Ladies premierships (Began 2004/05), 2 Youth Girls (Began 2011/12), 15 Reserve Grade premierships (Began in 1953/54). Records are very sketchy on the junior competition prior to cyclone Tracy in 1974 but since then St Marys have won 19 Senior Colts 41 Junior premierships. At different times since 1975/76 the Junior competitions each year were often changed until the league settled on U/18’s, U/16’s, U/14’s since 1987/88. U/15’s and U/13’s grades since 2005/06. These last two have now been disbanded and an U/16’s Div 2 and U/14’s Div 2 were added in 2010/11 U/12’s were also added in 2012/13 and Saints have picked up the first two premierships. The NTFL has also change with A grade being called the Premier League and Reserve grade after the amalgamation of TEAFA became NTFL Div 1 and 2

The total number of premierships in all grades now stands at 113 (Wall to Wall flags) this is to the end of season 2013/14. This total exceeds any other Club's tally since 1952/53 Next closest is Darwin with 56 since 1952/53 (overall Darwin have won 64 since they started in 1918)

Michael Athanasiou is the NTFL and Club games record holder with 314 games. He extended the record to 328 while captain/coach of Darwin. Michael also holds the record of 12 Premiership medallions along with Cyril Rioli (Jnr) and closely followed by Noel Long with eleven.

Dennis Dunn holds the NTFL and Club record with a career total of 817. Dennis in one match against Waratahs in 1984/85 kicked 20 goals. On 46 occasions Dennis kicked 7 or more goals in a game

The Long Family created history on Saturday 4th December 1999 when Noel ran onto Football Park Mararra and played the family’s 1000th NTFL’s recognised First Grade Game although Jack (Snr) played probably in excess of 200 games himself but all his playing records were lost through Cyclone Tracy. He is only recognised as having played 36 first grade games. Jack started with St Marys in 1964/65, and finished his career in 1978/79 and he played in 9 Grand Finals. (3 winning and 6 loosing ones).

The family has 44 (forty-four) NTFL League Premierships among them. The 1000 games do not include Michael’s 190 games with Essendon or the brothers 53 first grade games in SA and WA or the family’s 37 representative games and the 384 played in the various other grades (total 1664 games) plus 200 odd Jack Snr played

Then in Rd 5 on the 8th of November 2003 Steven, Brian, John, Noel, Chris, Michael and P J created history as brothers when Michael and PJ led the side onto Marrara against Darwin to play a combined total of 1000 NTFL games.








Noel Long

14 and 5


1983/84, 1984/85, 1985/86, 1986/87, 1987/88, 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1993/94, 1994/95, (5) 1995/96(5).

Brian Long





John Long



1983/84, 1984/85, 1985/86, 1986/87, 1987/88, 1989/90, 1990/91.

Patrick Long*

3,4 and 13


1989/90(3), 1990/91(3), 1993/94(4), 1994/95(13), 1995/96(13), 1996/97(13).

Steven Long



1984/85, 1986/87, 1989/90.

Christopher Long



1986/87, 1987/88, 1989/90, 1990/91.

Michael Long

35 and 8


1986/87 (35),1987/88 (8)




N.T.F.L. League Matches

 Note: The numbers in brackets are the jumper numbers that they wore in that particular season

After 42 years Vic Ludwig OAM retired as the president in 2004. As far as we know he has become the longest serving president in Australia if not the World in any sport beating L.A. Adamson who was president of the Victorian Amateur Football Association from 1896 - 1932 (37 years)

John Taylor deserves a special mention as coach. In 13 consecutive season, he coached St Marys to 11 premierships, once R/U (1992/93) and one 3rd. (1988/89). In the preliminary final of 1988/89 the seven Long brothers all played. He coached Saints for 252 games for 229 wins and 23 losses a winning % ratio of 90.87 puts him in the “Don Bradman” class of Australian Football and to go with his eleven league premierships John also coached St Marys to six umpire’s carnival wins.

One season that deserves a special mention in St Marys history is season 1978/79 when on one glorious Saturday in March 1979 the Gods smiled and the Heavens rained premiership flags as St Marys won the League, the Reserves, the Senior Colts (now U/18’s), the Junior Colts (now U/16’s) and the U/14’s premierships. This is the only time one club has won all flags in the one season. The result in the Reserves at full time on the scoreboard had both teams tied until the goal umpires confirmed that St Marys had won by one point

Five other seasons that have been very rewarding were in 1984/85, 1985/86 and 2007/08 when Saints won five out of seven premierships and 1987/88 and 1994/95 when Saints won 4 out of five premierships they fielded teams in.

Rick Nolan (the son of former North Melbourne Ruckman the late Mick Nolan) created history when taking over as coach in 2013/14 he guided St Marys to undefeated Champions in his first season as coach. This has never been done before.

So far St Marys are on a winning streak of 38 wins in a row chasing their record of 55 in a row set back in the early nineties (1994 - 1997)

This article was created for the love of the club by Rex Nixon




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