2007 AFL Rookie Draft, Pick No 19
2008 AFL Debut
2008 NAB Rising Star Nomination
Growing up in the Tiwi Islands just off the coast of the Northern Territory, Austin (otherwise known as “Aussie”) learnt to play football at a young age. Standing at 172 cm and 76kg, this small forward has been likened to Alwyn Davey in his agility and tackling ability.
Wonaeamirri played senior football in both the TIFL and the Northern Territory Football League in Darwin, where he was a junior star for the St Marys Football Club. He was named in the inaugural list of the Tiwi Bombers, as one of their youngest stars. Austin was a solid contributor for the Bombers during the record thrashing of Rumbalara Football Club in their historic encounter at the MCG as a curtainraiser to the "Dreamtime at the G" match between Essendon and Richmond.
After being overlooked in the 2006 AFL Draft, Wonaeamirri moved to Adelaide to play in the SANFL for the Norwood Football Club to increase his chances of being drafted from a more competitive league. That year he also represented Australia's indigenous youth on tour to South Africa with the "Flying Boomerangs" to play against the South Africa's Buffaloes.
After strong performances in the 2007 AFL National Under 18 Championships for the Northern Territory; where he was voted the Territory's best player at the tournament, Aussie attracted the interest of talent scouts & having a solid season with Norwood under his belt, Aussie was picked up in the Rookie Draft by the Melbourne Football Club.
The breakthrough for Wonaeamirri was his 4 goals in the Demons round 7 clash against the Dockers in 2008. One of his goals was at a critical point in the game, helping his team steal the lead for the first time in the game and for good, whilst also earning himself a Rising Star Award Nomination. His final quarter produced a total of 3 goals, when the game was still in the balance. With his enthusiastic celebrations Austin established himself as a cult figure, with many nicknaming him "Aussie" and "Wonna". Capping off his debutant season, Aussie finished second in the club goalkicking for the year.
In 2009, Wonaeamirri chose to change from guernsey number 39 to 33, a number previously worn by indigenous idols Jeff Farmer and Byron Pickett. After a solid preseason, Aussie was selected for the Indigenous All-Stars to play against the Adelaide Crows, where he kicked 2 goals and was named among the best for the side.
After a tough 2010, Aussie played in 8 games for the season; however his strong mindset and discipline in training will assist him in a successful 2011 season.
Aussie looks to have a bright future ahead of him and whilst playing AFL is a huge part of his life, his strong connection to his island home will never change.