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When the Northern Territory Football League announced its Team of the Century in 2016, it contained three players of Chinese descent.

Walter Lew Fatt was named on the interchange, Clifford Lew Fatt as a fullback and John 'Bubba' Tye on the wing alongside AFL champions Andrew McLeod and Michael Long.

Tye is largely unknown outside the Northern Territory as he only had a brief time playing in the SANFL, but he played such exquisite 'wet season' football that he was voted 'the greatest footballer since Cyclone Tracy' by the NTFL.

John Tye played over 200 games of senior football from 1964 until 1980 and brought a unique style and intensity to Darwin football.

He played the first part of his career for the Darwin Buffaloes, winning three premierships and then later switched to Nightcliff, delivering them a premiership as well.

He won Chaney Medals for best player in a Grand Final for both clubs and in the 1978/79 season he won the Nichols Medal for the best player in the NTFL.

He also played six games for the Norwood Redlegs in the South Australian National Football League before returning home to Darwin.

John played interstate representative football for the Northern Territory and one of his proudest achievements was captaining the Northern Territory to a 32-point win over Queensland in Brisbane in 1974.

John Henry 'Bubba' Tye was born in Darwin in 1951, the son of George Tye and Mavis, who was a famous midwife in the town.

Fellow SANFL Chinese heritage player, Paul Ah Chee, recalls 'Bubba' being a brilliant footballer wherever he played: "He played a bit like Cyril Rioli – a mix of pace, style and skill. I know that he missed the Territory when he was away from it – the bush was in his blood like few others I met."

Paul remembers a unique man among men who was proud of his cultural identity: "I knew him well and he was an amazing, magnificent man, who looked oriental and knew about his Chinese heritage."

'Bubba' Tye was inducted into the AFL Northern Territory Hall of Fame in 2010 with the following summary:

''There are not enough superlatives to describe 'Bubba' Tye's football ability and there is no doubt that had he so wished he could have plied his trade in the VFL.

'Fortunately for NT football he chose to remain playing in the NTFL, entertaining legions of fans every week.

'A spectacular, high-energy player, his inspirational play earned him the respect of all football followers. His fierce attack on the ball sent shudders through all his opponents.

'A brilliant mark and a superb kick, to watch 'Bubba' play would often give all his supporters goose bumps.'

John 'Bubba' Tye passed away in 2014 at the age of 63 and the hard-living, hard-drinking, footy playing bushman was described as 'The Real Crocodile Dundee' by his brother Arthur at his funeral.