OBJECTIVE: In 1983 an Under 17 Australian Rules Football team visited Melbourne. They came from Townsville in North Queensland and the majority were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. For several months prior to the trip they worked to raise the money and resources they needed for the trip. This paper describes the preliminary results of a research project that looked at the health of this group 25 years later. What can we learn from their experience in 1983? What can they tell us about the health of the next generation of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men? METHOD: The research project used a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research methods. It included a questionnaire, interviews, workshop and a focus group. RESULTS: All of those involved in 1983 are still alive. Over a range of social and economic indicators many score very well but there are signs, as with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, of underlying health issues. CONCLUSIONS: Sport can provide for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men a culturally 'safe' place where important values across generations are developed and sustained.