The Rirratjingu Football Program recently partnered with the Yirrkala Clontarf Academy as four young men were rewarded for their exemplary school attendance with a chance to join senior RFP participants for the round 6 NTFL trip to Darwin.

Liyawulumu Yunupingu, Dhunumbu Marika, Yunitjpi Maymuru and Mithili Wanambi joined an undermanned Buffaloes U/14 outfit and were eventually defeated by a fast finishing Waratahs 6-8-44 to 6-3-39. The performance earned the praise of stand in coach Steven Stokes, a former Nichols Medal winner and father of Rirratjingu Football Program Assistant and Darwin Buffaloes Captain, Cameron.

Yunupingu and Maymuru were rock solid in defence, generating plenty of rebound which resulted in forward entries. Dhunumbu Marika was used in midfield role and his gut running was rewarded with a number of forward assists and shots on goal. But it was the performance of twelve year old Mithili Wanambi that had the crowd talking with the robust backman running riot in a 30+ possession game. Wanambi was tight checking in defence but his run and carry was a real feature in an eye catching display that will be sure to earn the talented youngster 3 votes on Nichols Medal night.

Rirratjingu Football Program mentor and Yirrkala Clontarf Academy Director Bernie Price accompanied the group. Price remarked “As an organisation we are really privileged to be able to partner with the footy program. It’s no secret that providing opportunities like these has a direct correlation to consistent school attendance and engagement. Both the Clontarf Foundation and the Rirratjingu Football Program share similar values in using sport as a vehicle to achieve social outcomes so we are really grateful for the opportunity.”

Price also made comment of the emergence of young talent and the strong allegiance between Clontarf, the Rirratjingu Football Program and the Geelong Cats Next Generation AFL Academy. “We are all on the same page and there is certainly plenty of opportunities in the pipeline that will be of huge benefit to our young men, both on and off the field”

2017 junior football on the Gove peninsula will conclude with a gala event on Thursday November 30 at the Yirrkala Oval from 6pm. The Clontarf Academy will celebrate the year with a series of presentations, with a full scale U/16 game to follow.

The Clontarf Foundation exists to improve the education, discipline, self-esteem, life skills and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and by doing so, equips them to participate more meaningfully in society.

For more information, contact Academy Director Bernie Price (