Early Days

Rugby Union in the Northern Territory had its beginnings in Darwin mid 1975 just months after Cyclone Tracy devastated the City and surrounds.  Richard “Dick” Norris and some friends formed a Team known as the Old Plebians who played games on an ad-hoc basis against any locals, Military Personnel then based in, or travelling through Darwin as part of the reconstruction process.

At the time there were a large number of New Zealanders working on the reconstruction program and one of them, David Cooper decided it was worth trying to organise a formal Rugby Competition. He placed an advertisement in the Newspaper calling on anyone interested in establishing a competition to attend a meeting at his house in the suburb of Ludmilla.

At that first meeting it was decided to form a Committee to organise a Competition to commence in October 1976 and run through until March of 1977. A six team competition was established and the First Match was played between South Darwin and the RSL Dragons at 4.15pm on 2nd October 1976 at Alawa Oval.  The First Grand Final was played on 3rd March 1977 between Waratahs and South Darwin at Richardson Park in Ludmilla.

Representing the Territory

In 1978 the NTRU embarked upon its first Representative tour by sending a team to contest the Queensland Country Rugby Union Carnival in Mount Isa which would become the first of many interstate tours by Senior and Junior Representative Teams from the Northern Territory.In March 1981 the NT XV embarked on an extraordinary Australian Tour, playing matches in Alice Springs, Peth, Adelaide Melbourne and Brisbane before finishing in Mount Isa. The first inbound tour to Darwin was from Canada in 1985. Subsequent Internationals have been played against Western Samoa, Scotland. Italy, Sri Lanka and Samoa. Overseas tours have included Singapore, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

A Place to Call Home

NT Rugby was granted a parcel of land at Marrara in 1982 and officially opened the facility in 1984. The establishment Grant included the provision of an administrative and player accommodation unit. The unit came in the form of a demountable building which had previously been a post-cyclone maternity ward at the original Darwin Hospital at Myilly Point

Spreading the Word

The Katherine Rugby Union was established in 1981 and the team played ad-hoc matches against Darwin Clubs or Military Teams who were prepared to travel to Katherine for a game.  In 1983 a Katherine Team was admitted to the Darwin Reserve Grade Competition and made the semi-finals in their debut season. By 1988 there was enough interest in Rugby in Katherine to establish its own four team Competition.

1983 was also the year of the first Rugby match in Alice Springs when the home side hosted a team from Tennant Creek and won the match 20-13. In 1984 Alice Springs sent a team to Darwin in contest the NT Club Championships. The Central Australian Rugby Union staged its first Club Competition matches on 1st November 1986

New Millennium

After several years of speculating on a change for the Darwin Competition from Wet Season to Dry Season, a special General Meeting was held in 2001 to formalise the change. The last wet season Grand Final was held in March 2002 followed by a shortened Transitional Competition of 10 weeks in October/November of 2002. The First Dry Season Competition was played in 2003.