Territory Tales…. And Then There Was the Grand Final

Many Almanackers would be aware the AFLNT Grand Final was played this weekend. Much anticipated, past Greats slip back into town, resulting in reunions aplenty. This year, a further cause for celebration: an official opening on Friday of the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre. Political, corporate and AFL suits added a unique dimension to the crowd, and more than one slipped into Mitchell Street to experience the tropical version of King Street Melbourne.

Like true champions, numbers of the footy fraternity spurned hangovers, ditched Saturday morning golf, and attended Nightcliff Footy Club’s legendary Grand Final breakfast starring the two Vichs – Kekovich and Jakovich, G. Both entertained with aplomb – Mick Malthouse’s aborted three quarter time speech and misplaced concern at Peter Matera’s already missing finger was a treat. G. Jakovich may have been a brave man on field, however faced with brief exposure to our horror wet season, jeans not shorts and my busted car air conditioning, one sensed his poorly concealed sprint to the freezer like atmosphere of Darwin airport was that of a man facing physical melt down.

For some, the afternoon is reserved for Fannie Bay Racetrack, St Patrick’s Day Meet: the canny will have already donned their footy polo in preparation for a quick getaway to TIO after the Last.

Then came the game. St Mary’s (of course) v Wanderers, the underdogs. And whether it was that status – and associated desperation – or G. Jakovich declaring his spontaneous allegiance based on their blue and gold colours, is hard to say, however the Motlop laden Muk Muks stunned Saints, and took the bickies. The joy is still being shared at Wanderers’ home, The Shed.

And finally to ice the cake, Footy as grassroots as you get: the Pumarali Thunder and Lightening v Walama Bulldogs Grand Final clash, head-to-head Sunday on the magnificent Tiwi Islands, with the result decided in the dying seconds of the game.

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