Tiwi ‘Adventure & Footy’ Cultural Exchange

Students from Narangba Valley High School’s Vipers AFL Academy recently played host to students from the Tiwi College as part of the school’s ongoing closing the gap initiative. In a relationship that has continued to flourished, students from both school’s joined together forming the now famous ‘Tiwi Vipers’ combine side uniting young indigenous and non indigenous teenagers. Consisting of boys from years 8 to 11, the Tiwi Vipers toured South East Queensland with a mix of footy, adventure and chance to make new lifelong friends.

First stop was a visit to Narangba Valley High School, where the Tiwi College boys joined in on a senior dance class to mix it up with some hip hop dancing. They were soon back into more familiar surrounds joining an AFL Academy practical class showing the locals a few tips about Tiwi footy.

Upon receiving generous financial support from Kennedy’s Timbers, the Tiwi Vipers launched their new combine playing uniform with a game against Nudgee College. It was neck a neck up to half time, until Tiwi Viper coach and former Melbourne Demon Austin Wonaeamirri threw Kenny Puruntatamerri forward who promptly blasted home 5 majors to give the Tiwi Vipers an unassailable lead. Austin described Kenny’s performance akin to a jet aeroplane taking off with his breathtaking speed and accuracy.

The next three days saw the ‘Tiwi Vipers’ combine side leave for rural Queensland, with a first stop off at Burnside State High School’s Volleyball School of Excellence. WIN News was there to meet the boys, with Adam Tipungwuti and Kevin Clark providing an insight into the Tiwi Vipers.

Cherbourg State School was the next stop, where the boys conducted their annual Cherbourg AFL clinic. The yearly visit to Cherbourg is certainly paying off with a significant improvement of the AFL skills of the students in the Rugby League dominated town.

The big day on the road was capped off with another game of footy, this time against the Wide Bay Under 15 rep side at Gympie. The Tiwi Vipers got the points again, with the Wide Bay boys finalising preparations for next week’s Queensland Schoolboy Championships.

To help freshen up, the following day consisted of a visit to Noosa Beach for some surfing, and for the Tiwi boys opportunities to swim in the ocean minus deadly stingers and crocodiles. For some of the boys the concept of swimming with crocs would have been preferable to the next activity of climbing ten metres up a tree to complete a high ropes course. The initial fear of the lofty heights soon vanished with the boys supporting each other to conquer their fears and complete the challenge.

To round off the trip, the boys climbed Mount Beerburrum, participated in a live cross on ABC Radio, visited the Gabba for the Lions vs Collingwood match, plus a game of their own under lights against the Brisbane Lions Academy. Both Adam and Kenny remained jets flying across the oval in a fast flowing game with the Tiwi Vipers falling just short of the talented Lions Academy side.

For Vipers Director Greg McMahon, he said the success of the week justifies exactly why both schools make this an annual event. “The relationship continues to grow from strength to strength, with lasting friendships that continues to shape and improve attitudes and perceptions towards a culture different to your own”. With the Tiwi College set to play host for the Narangba students in August, Tiwi College’s Shane Tipuamantimirri added, “we can’t wait to show the boys all the cultures, wildlife and football they have been hearing about all week”.

For many students it will simply provide another opportunity to catch up with their new mates.

Our Supporters