Tropical Cyclone Marcus Unable to Shake Spirits, as Tiwi Islands Footy Fever Finally Sets in

The Tiwi Islands has been hit with a case of grand final fever, and if you thought a cyclone would be enough to shake punters’ spirits, you would be wrong.

While Tropical Cyclone Marcus may have postponed the long-awaited showdown between the Tuyu Buffaloes and newcomers Tikalaru Dockers, it did not stop locals and tourists alike from descending on Bathurst Island for the renowned celebration of Tiwi Islands culture.

Dockers players run through a banner onto the field for the football grand final.

It was a day of celebration for the Dockers, who claimed victory over their opponents, despite only entering the Tiwi Islands Football League (TIFL) this season.

It was a feat not easily lost on their doting fans, who took to the field in support ahead of the big game.

Indigenous men and women stand on a football field next to an AFL ball.

“It’s nothing like the MCG,” quipped Melburnian Andrew, who was visiting his girlfriend in Darwin and joined a charter flight to the match on a whim.

“But the atmosphere is up there. It’s pretty much like a country footy game… with the rivalry between the towns.”

A group of teenagers sit on the bleachers to watch the Tiwi Islands football grand final.While punters may have come for the football, they stayed for the culture.

The event is an unlikely combination of art and sport, where some of the Territory’s best painters, sewers and sculptors converge to show their work to the world.

Fans gather along the sidelines to watch the Buffaloes and Dockers grand final.

“[This] means snake, it’s our rainbow serpent,” artist Nicholas Shane Miller said, gesturing to an intricately woven rug.

“I like making that because it protects our island too.”

Tiwi art work sits in an art centre.Source