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Tiwi footballers receive Essendon opportunity

Jackson Clark -

Three Tiwi Islands footballers will receive an opportunity to showcase their talents for Essendon's VFL team during Wednesday night's clash against the Northern Territory Football League representative team.

Kim Kantilla, Brendan Kantilla and Karlson Kantilla have been included in the Bombers' 24-man squad set to play against the NTFL at TIO Stadium in Darwin.

All three footballers have been rewarded for their excellent form in the local competition for the Tiwi Bombers.

Kim Kantilla already has State League experience after having a stint with SANFL club South Adelaide in 2022 and 2023.

The livewire forward has kicked 20 goals from 12 games throughout the 2023/24 NTFL season, including a five-goal haul against Palmerston three weeks ago.

Brendan Kantilla is the newly-appointed Bombers' skipper and has enjoyed a career-best season averaging 21 disposals and over a goal per game.

Karlson Kantilla has been one of the competition's surprise packets having made his NTFL Premier League debut at the beginning of the season.

Kantilla has been named in the Bombers' best players on six occasions from his 12 games.

Tiwi player Kim Kantilla will play for Essendon's VFL team tonight. (Image: AFLNT)

Essendon CEO Craig Vozzo said late last year he was excited about the club strengthening the connection with the Tiwi community.

"The Tiwi Islands holds a special place at Essendon, and we are thrilled to be heading north," Vozzo said.

"This is an excellent opportunity to further enhance our connection to our Next Generation Academy Zone, the Tiwi Bombers and the wider Northern Territory."

Tiwi Bombers president Lindsay Whiting said the Tiwi Bombers were thrilled to have the Bombers up North.

"We are all excited to welcome Essendon's VFL and VFLW teams to the Northern Territory and are looking forward engaging with them during their time here," Whiting said.

"It's a great opportunity to highlight and provide opportunities for emerging Tiwi talent."

In the women's game, five Tiwi women will have the opportunity to pull on a Red and Black jumper.

Maria Rioli, Freda Puruntatameri, Kimberly Cunningham, Jamie Lee Puautjimi and Gloriana Luta have all been named in the Bombers' team for the 6PM clash.

Rioli is the daughter of the late great Maurice Rioli and had an outstanding debut NTFL season for the Tiwi Bombers last year.

The skilful teenager won the Bombers' inaugural best-and-fairest award and earned selection for the NTFL Women's representative team that lost to WAFLW outfit Claremont.


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