NT Thunder Records Massive Upset Win Over Victoria Metro


The Northern Territory has scored an astonishing upset win over a highly fancied Victoria Metro outfit in the first game of the NAB AFL U18 Championships at TIO Stadium on Saturday night. The undersized Thunder side led all day to eventually win 15.10 (100) to 11.16 (82).

Victoria had a wasteful opening term in front of goal and went into the first break with an inaccurate 1.8 to trail the Thunder by seven points. The silky-skilled Territory team moved the ball from defence into attack with precision and hurt its opponents on the scoreboard. At half time Thunder led by 20 points and the players went into the rooms full of confidence with the belief of causing a massive upset. Their belief was backed by a vocal home crowd and the momentum continued in the third quarter. Despite it being a cool night in Darwin, the weather must have been in the minds of the Victorians, which could have sapped them of their confidence. The Territory went into the final break with a 31-point advantage and looked likely of securing a win. Victorian sparked a mini revival in the last quarter but it was a case of too little too late for the southerners. NT recorded the 18-point win to start its 2012 NAB Championships campaign in fine style.

It was essentially an even spread of contributors for the Thunder side that had 12 individual goal kickers on the night. Anthony Tipungwuti was brilliant for the Thunder and was a major catalyst in the win while Louie Egger and captain Jed Anderson were also instrumental in the win. Ben Rioli produced a courageous performance by starting for his side just one day after his father’s funeral. His cousin Willy also showed the mercurial skills that have become attributed to the Rioli name.

Vic Metro was missing a couple of star players but that is taking nothing away from Thunder’s win. Potential North Melbourne father-son draftee Luke McDonald was good while Nick Vlaustin also showed patches of why he is highly rated. Ashlin Brown bobbed up for four goals up forward but it was not enough to spur his side to victory.

Twitter – @JClark182

About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.


  1. John Harms says

    Jackson, that is a ripper story. I’d love to know more. Sounds (from the emaiil you sent me) that you know some of these blokes.

    Are you able to fill us in on a little more personal detail re where the players are from etc? Who is the coach?

    What was their response? How did they celebrate?

  2. Thanks for the report, Jackson.
    Certainly not wishing to detract from NT’s victory, but
    apparently the sh#t has hit the fan in the Vic Metro
    camp, given they decided to “rest” a number of their
    first-choice players. It seems they were expecting an
    “easy’ win.
    A true David and Goliath story…and a story of which
    we will no doubt be hearing more….

  3. Jackson,

    good stuff,

    and don’t listen to any of those, we weren’t trying etc, excuses. That’s what they say in the odd occasion that Tassy beats a Victorian side. They were trying alright and they would have been very grumpy after the game.

    They have gone all that way just to get a footy lesson. Lovely. The mangoes and pineapples would have tasted more than a bit bitter after the game.

  4. Brilliant stuff, Jackson. Must have been a great game to watch.
    You have given Phantom and I something to agree on after all this time – “shove it up those arrogant Vics”!!!

  5. Jackson Clark says

    Thanks for the replies. Yeah strangely enough I actually wasn’t at the game but I’ve heard all about it from most of the boys that played. The Vics can use the excuse about missing players but at the end of the day, the footy game was there to be won and they couldn’t. Plus the NT side were missing a few gun players as well and I remember looking at the team sheet and thinking it wasn’t a full strength team.

    The win certainly meant a lot for all of the boys as the Thunder are a pretty tight-knit side. It’s also a very talented group this year with most of the players having already had NAB Championships experience last year. Feel free to toss up any names and I will let you know what I think about them.

  6. John Harms says

    What about the ones you’ve named?

    From where? Playing their regular footy where? How they are related to the great NT families?

  7. Jackson Clark says

    Jed Anderson – Captain of the Territory underage side for the second year in a row. He made the All-Australian side in last year’s championships so will already be on the radar of many AFL clubs but is likely to be selected by GWS as a zone selection. He’s played plenty of senior footy for NT Thunder and also the Darwin Buffaloes in the NTFL comp where he has aquitted himself well.

    Anthony Tipungwuti – I actually rate him probably the most talented of the lot. Played two games this season for the Tiwi Bombers where he dominated in what is a pretty good standard of football. He is very dedicated about his footy which is examplified by his decision to live in Melbourne and attend school for the past four years. This move has also been to improve his footy with Gippsland Power and relocating to the “big-smoke” has often been a difficult move for a full-blood Tiwi Islander.

    Louis Egger – Some say he was very close to getting drafted last year and from memory he attended the draft camp. Has moved down to Melbourne for footy and has been performing well at reserves level for the Coburg Tigers.

    Ben Rioli – Cousin of Cyril from Hawthorn. His older brother Shannon came through the system a couple of years ago and was highly rated. Ben is certainly following in his footsteps and has come off a great year with St Marys in the NTFL where he won the competition’s rising star award. He shows good character off the field and has had to overcome personal tragedy with his father Sibby (an extremely talented footballer himself) passing away recently.

    Willy Rioli – Cousin of Ben and Cyril. He shows silky skills especially around goals and is one of the many that has been living down south because of school. Question marks over his fitness at this stage but his football nous and skill can not be faulted.

  8. John Harms says

    This is top stuff Jackson. And the coach?

  9. Jackson Clark says

    Coach is Brenton Toy. He’s a local bloke that has had experience with clubs in the NTFL competition. He’s still only a pretty young bloke and gets along with the players on a personal level. At the same time he is pretty clear in what he wants to achieve with the side and he has the respect of the players. It is his last year as U18s coach because he has taken the role has head coach of Waratah in the NTFL.

  10. Jackson – Willy is out at Xavier is he not? In the boarding house? I’ve heard whispers around town that he looks and plays like Dean Rioli.

  11. Jackson Clark says

    Yep Willy is at Xavier I am pretty sure and from all reports going real well. Obviously I didn’t see Dean as a 16/17-year-old but the comparisons could be correct. I wouldn’t imagine Willy being as heavy as Dean was but both have exquisite skills.

  12. Anthony Tipungwuti moved down to Gippsland to go to school first, football comes second. He is currently completing a sports coaching course through Victoria Uni and completing VCE english ESL and Math. His decision to continue playing football is a secondary focus to his education. Gippsland Power coach Nick Stevens has been instrumental in improving his fitness this year, enabling him to finish four quarters of footy, something he couldn’t do last year. Having a family in Gippsland enable him to feel settled and his schooling is actually enabling him to live a full life outside of footy; allowing it to remain a passion. He is a talented footballer that has shown that with fitness, he can compete with the best in the business.

  13. Tavis Perry says

    Jackson! Great write up mate.. As astonishing victory for NT and one that will be celebrated and looked upon for a long time to come.

    My understanding is that Daniher was the biggest ‘out’ for Vic Metro, but you can only beat what’s put in front of you and the NT squad is particularly impressive this year. Apart from the names you’ve mentioned Jack McEwin, who had a great start to the NEAFL season with NT Thunder and is a massive kick, will come under consideration, as will Braedon McLean (nephew of Magic), with sublime skills on both sides of his body and incredible poise in traffic.

    The one who I’d love you to share your thoughts on is Sam Autio.. 6ft 5, incredinbly athletic, kicked 6 goals in his first senior game with Palmerston, won the senior B&F this year, kicked 10 in the last game of the year, dominated in the ruck at stages and kept Waylen Mansen goalless after Waylen had drilled 45 goals in 5 games! A top 10 draft pick in most years, but may not even get looked at due to his numerous off field discretions.

    Hope to see you do a few more write ups yet and a great response from almanacers.. The last one from Mike is very impressive.

  14. Jackson Clark says

    I reckon Autio is a gun. A lot of people are quick to criticise the bloke because of his off field problems but as far as his football ability goes, that really can’t be faulted. For what it’s worth, I get along with him and he hasn’t done anything bad by me so I wish him all the best.

    Daniel Stafford, who didn’t play on the weekend, is a bloke that I rate super highly as well. He’s 197+cm, has a fairly solid body, and moves very well for his size. Looks a very raw prospect as they say, but I was super impressed with what I saw in a reserves game up here. He then continued his form into the finals series with Nightcliff when promoted into the seniors. He kicked nine in his last game in country footy the other week.

  15. Andrew Fithall says

    I spoke to a mate this evening whose son should have made the trip but didn’t because of the Vic’s selection decision. As Smokie said, there have been recriminations down South. At training they were made to work very hard: the players paid for the mistake of the selectors.

    Great win by the NT and an excellent report Jackson. I plan to get along to Princes Park on 10 June to see a couple of games. And will look out for Rioli when Xavier get beaten by St Kevin’s in early August.


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