With the median point of the season reached last weekend the 2016 renewal of the Hahn Super Dry Cup has emerged as the most intriguing since Rugby moved to the Dry Season in 2003.
South Darwin and Casuarina lead the competition each with six wins from eight outings and are separated by a 23-point for and against differential in favour of the Rabbitohs.
On Saturday the long-time rivals will do battle for the President’s Cup at Rugby Park for the second year in a row with the Cougars current holders of the trophy.
The competition’s intrigue surrounds the three-way battle for 3rd and 4th position between University, Palmerston and Darwin Dragons with four wins and four losses apiece this season.
University are the reigning Premier and have appeared in ten of the thirteen Dry Season Grand Finals.
The Pirates sit just one bonus point ahead of Palmerston and the Dragons and have lost to both those sides in recent weeks.
The Crocs and Dragons won just three games between them in 2015 with Dragons winning two of their encounters with Palmerston to qualify for the Finals.
Head to Head they are one each this year and both have defeated Swampdogs who did not participate in last season’s First Grade Competition.
The Crocs have claimed the scalps of University and South Darwin who were last year’s Grand Finalists while the Dragons have knocked over Casuarina by a point and University by 41 points last Saturday.
The Pirates have wins over Dragons and Casuarina but have played Swampdogs twice while Dragons and Palmerston are yet to play the bottom placed Swampdogs a second time.
While Saturday’s Top of the Table clash will result in a favourite emerging for the Minor Premiership results of the other Round 9 matches could see Dragons move from 5th to 3rd with a win over Swampdogs at Fred’s Pass if the winner of the University and Palmerston clash at Moulden doesn’t earn a bonus point.
Should Palmerston defeat University for the second time, the Pirates will drop out of the Top Four.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NT Rugby