NT Rugby’s 39th year was one of innovation and reinvention.
The year started with the Hottest 7s in the World which was won by the Borneo Eagles for a record 4th time while Brisbane based Tribe 7s won the Women’s Competition.
A Youth Boys Division was included for the first time and won by the Swampdogs who are a team based in Darwin’s rural area.
The Hottest 7s in the World was also a vehicle to select teams to represent the Northern Territory at the National 7s in Sydney with the credible results achieved in each of the four competitions.
In March the Warriors successfully defended their Central Australian Premiership while in Katherine the Brahmans caused an upset with victory over Barbarians in the Grand Final.
The Darwin Club Competition was a triumph for University who captured their 11th Premiership after finishing 3rd during the regular season.
The Competition was preceded by a Pre-Season Cup which had been re-introduced in 2014 after a 30 year absence and won by South Darwin.
The NTRU celebrated 100 Years of ANZAC with a Country of Origin match between Darwin based players of Australian and New Zealand heritage.
The Kiwis won the fixture which had been a regular event on the calendar until 2002 and its return was popular with both players and fans.
The year’s Junior Representative Program was a success.
The Schoolboys won two of their three matches in Division II for the first time since the abolition of the 6 Team format once played at Geelong Grammar School.
Both the Northern Territory Under 16s and Under 14s competed at the Queensland Rugby Junior State Championships in July at The Southport School.
The Under 16s were competing at the Championships for the second time however the Under 14s were on debut and registered victories over North Queensland and Sunshine Coast and the tournament will prove an ideal pathway for the Northern Territory’s juniors.
The Union turned back the clock almost two decades when it sent an Under 12 team to the NSW PSSA Championships in Newcastle.
The tour invoked a great deal of enthusiasm amongst participants and their parents and has been viewed as a catalyst for retention of players through their teen years.
A club based “Summer of Sevens” Competition was introduced and ran for 7 weeks through October and November.
Casuarina was the inaugural Men’s Champion with University winning in both the Women and Youth Boys. The Competition featured the first ever Youth Girls Competition in any form of Club Rugby and the Swampdogs defeated Palmerston in the Final.
Rugby Union in the Northern Territory is truly a twelve month operation.
Central Australia and Katherine play an alternative season to Darwin with the four week period from Christmas to the Hottest 7s in January being the only weekends there is no Rugby being played in the Northern Territory
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NT Rugby