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David Kantilla

 

david kantillaDavid Kantilla (1938-1978) was an Indigenous (Tiwi) Australia Rules footballer who is recognised as the first Indigenous Australia to play in the South Australian Football League. Throughout his footballing career he was known by his 'Anglo' name David Kantilla but also had his tribal
name of Amparralamtua.

Kantilla was born on Bathurst Island, which is part of the Tiwi Islands. After playing a
couple of seasons with St Mary's Football Club in the Northern Territory he joined South Adelaide for the 1961 season and had an immediate impact, kicking six goals against Glenelg on his debut and winning the club's best and fairest award in his first two seasons. Despite never having played on a fully turfed oval before, the beanpole-like Kantilla adapted to the hurly burly of big time football straight away. A tall man who
stood at 196cm, Kantilla was soon moved away from the forward 50 and made his mark as an energetic and highly skilled ruckman. He was a member of South Adelaide's premiership side in 1964 and by the time he left the club at end of the 1966 season he had played 113 games. Possibly his finest moment came in 1964 when he was arguably best on-field in South's 9.15 (69) to 5.12 (42) grand final victory over Port.  Kantilla also represented South Australia in the interstate arena in 1964 and 1965 (a total of 4 games), and was a dual winner of the Knuckey Cup for South Adelaide's best and fairest player.  His career tally of 106 league goals included a club list topping 31 in his debut season. After returning to the Northern Territory, he became captain-coach of his old club St Mary's.

In 1978 Kantilla was killed in a car accident on Bathurst Island. Twenty-seven years
later he was named on the interchange bench in the Indigenous Team of the Century. He is also a member of the South Adelaide Football Club Hall of Fame.

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