2022/23 NTFLW R3 Father-Daughter Focus: Maria Rioli (Tiwi Bombers)

RICHMOND father-daughter selection Maria Rioli is one of a few exciting club-aligned players heading into 2023, the 2005-born midfielder running around for Tiwi Bombers in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL). The former St Mary’s player burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old a few years back playing in the All-Stars game, and while she has been focusing on playing in the Northern Territory, her top-age year has now come around.

For Richmond fans, the sheer mention of the name ‘Rioli’ is likely to excite as possibilities come to mind, though Maria is one who still has a long way to go. Her natural football talent and X-factor is undoubted, but her consistency and endurance in particular still has a way to go to be able to take that next step. One thing that is guaranteed is that whenever she goes near the ball, she can make things happen, and has high-level football smarts reminiscent of her late father Maurice Sr, and older brother Maurice Jr.

Rioli has quite the highlights package over the years, which included slotting seven of her state’s nine goals in a 54-point win over ACT back in 2019. Twelve months later, she ran out against far older players in the 2020 NT All-Stars match where recent Hawthorn draftee Dominique Carbone was best on ground. Since then, Rioli has only played the seven games over the past three seasons, stringing the last three of them together so far this season since crossing from the Saints to the newly formed Bombers.

MARIA RIOLI (Tiwi Bombers)

DOB: 06/03/2005
Position: Midfielder
Strengths: Clean hands, acceleration, versatility, game sense
Improvements: Endurance, consistency

Maria Rioli might not have had the largest game on the stats sheet, amassing eight disposals, two marks and two rebound 50s, but her footy smarts and acceleration are undeniable. Staring on-ball, then moving to a wing and even playing half-forward at times, Rioli is a versatile talent who is more than capable of rolling through any area on the ground. She is a one-touch type of player and someone who tracks the ball well. As it stands now, Rioli will look to focus on gaining greater consistency across four quarters for the Bombers, building her endurance along the way.

As a 172cm midfielder, Rioli is the right height to compete in the air, but has the natural sense at ground level to do a lot of damage. Tiwi Bombers will not be the strongest side in their first NTFL Women’s Premier League season, but if Rioli can start to piece all of her gifts together, then she can help contribute to the team’s cause. Now the Northern Territory can compete for games in the NAB League, Rioli is one who would do well to compete against more experienced opponents and test herself on that front, then she could continue to develop the natural talent she has at her disposal.


Unfortunately for Rioli and the Tiwi Bombers, they were no match for reigning premiers Darwin Buffettes. The Buffs were coming off a loss to Waratah last round and after a competitive start from the Bombers, they fell away with the visitors slotting the last nine goals of the game at TIO Stadium, while the Bombers were scoreless. Tayla Hart-Aluni was best-on for the Buffs with Machaelia Roberts and Molly Althouse also impressive, while Jasmine Ware caught the eye for the Bombers, with the former Carlton VFLW player slick across the ground after a season in AFL Cairns.

In other results, Waratah kept its unbeaten streak alive with a comfortable 49-point win over Southern Districts. The Crocs played their second game of the season, but like the Bombers, could not sustain a strong start. Only trailing by five points at quarter time, the Crocs kicked just 1.3 for the final three quarters, while the Tahs’ slammed home 8.5 to run away with the 11.7 (73) to 3.6 (24) win. Young guns Annabel Kievit and Kierra Zerafa were outstanding for the winners alongside Lisa Roberts, while Maddy Rasmussen was named best-on for the Crocs, with former Lions Academy talent Lucia Liessi also impressive.

PINT sits on top of the NTFL Women’s ladder after another big win, slamming home 24 scoring shots to two in a 107-point thrashing of St Mary’s. Keeping the Saints goalless until the last term, the Queen Ants stormed to a 77-point advantage by half-time, then were slowed somewhat in the second half but still won, 18.6 (114) to 1.1 (7). Ex-Carlton AFLW representative Reni Hicks was sensational for the home side along with Casey Morris, while Jemma Iacono was best-on for the Saints.

In the final game, Nightcliff took care of Palmerston Magpies to the tune of 52 points at Cazaly’s Arena, putting on eight goals to two in the second half. Leading by two straight kicks at the main break, the Tigers stepped up in a big way to record the 12.9 (81) to 4.5 (29) win. It was no surprise to see the experience of Mickayla Ward and Eliza Morrison among the Tigers best, while Palmerston young gun Tatyana Perry earned another best afield honour for the black and whites in the heavy defeat.

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