The Tiwi Islands Grand Final is an event held in March each year that attracts up to 3,000 spectators and is a tourist attraction for the Northern Territory. The Tiwi Australian Football League has 900 participants out of a community of about 2600, the highest football participation rate in Australia (35%). Tiwi footballers are renknowned for exquisite one touch skills. Many of the players have a preference for participating barefoot. Many of the male players also play for the St Marys Football Club in Darwin's Northern Territory Football League.
There were emotional scenes as players, their families and friends went berserk after yesterday's (1 April 2007, season 2006/7) win over the Tigers.
The 'pies have made it to the Finals a number of times over the years, including 5 out of the last 6.
The locals quickly took to the game and the first dedicated ground was built in 1942.
In 1944 the first games consisting of a full complement of 18 players and matches according to the rule book were played.
In 1954, the St Mary's Football Club began enlisting Tiwi servicemen, and in the following year with the assistance of a majority of Tiwi players won the NTFL premiership.
In the 1960s, the most talented export of the TIFL, David Kantilla had a successful career in the NTFL, which reached a peak when he later became a professional player in the South Adelaide Football Club (SANFL) premiership ruckman, and winning leading goal kicking and Best and Fairest awards at the club. The league's top goalkicking award was later named after him.
In 1982, Tiwi Maurice Rioli won the Norm Smith Medal for the Richmond Football Club, becoming one of the first Tiwis to succeed in the VFL/AFL. Michael Long was later to do the same in 1993. Adam Kerinaiua played 3 games for the Brisbane Bears in 1992. Malcolm Lynch is a more recent product of the Tiwi Islands playing the AFL. Although these players were not from the TIFL, the success of these players in the elite Australian competition did much to boost the popularity of Australian Rules amongst the local Tiwi Islanders.