Everything you need to know about Saturday's Darwin Grand Finals

Thu, Mar 23, 2023, 11:30 PM
NT Rugby
by NT Rugby
Dennis Bree (centre) with Saturday's senior grand final captains and coaches.
Dennis Bree (centre) with Saturday's senior grand final captains and coaches.

Marrara’s Rugby Park is set to explode on Saturday as 12 teams from five Top End clubs battle it out for grand final glory.

Casuarina enter Saturday’s XXXX Darwin A-Grade decider as red-hot favourites after a 11-1 regular season and face a red-hot Palmerston side chasing their third upset in as many weeks.

After seeing off Uni Pirates and South Darwin in the semi and qualifying finals, a Crocs grand final win would rank among the Territory’s greatest rugby moments.

Cougars skipper Lanz Malupo is determined to bring Palmerston’s fairytale finals run to a halt.

“Full credit to Palmerston coming through with all their young fellas, we’ll respect them but there will be no mercy on the field.”

NT Rugby legend Dennis Bree will be among those chasing the Crocs fairytale with the 71-year-old set to come off the bench in yet another grand final.

11:30am - Rugby Park Gates Open

1:30pm - U14 Boys GF (Darwin Dragons v Palmerston Crocs)

2:45pm - U16 Boys GF (Casuarina Cougars v MacKillop Saints)

4:15pm - B-Grade Men's GF (Katherine Rucking Roos v Casuarina Cougars)

6:00pm - U16 Girls GF (MacKillop Saints v Darwin Dragons/Palmerston)

6:30pm - Women's GF (Darwin Dragons v Casuarina Cougars)

7:40pm - A-Grade Men's GF (Casuarina Cougars v Palmerston Crocs)

“I’ve played ever single season here in Darwin since 1976 … I’ve had a few injuries but I’ve tried to keep fit and I’m just very lucky,” Bree said.

“I’ve been on such a high since we won the (qualifying) final the other night and I just love what I do - playing with my teammates means so much to me.”

In the women’s 12-a-side decider, Darwin Dragons will be spearheaded by superstar Ayesha Kay as they chase redemption for last season’s heartbreaking grand final loss.

They’ll be facing Casuarina, who will also field sides in the men’s NT Bitumen & Asphlat B-Grade decider and U16 boys grand final.

Mackillop Saints are in the running for the U16 title before Katherine’s Rucking Roos challenge Cougars for the B-Grade premiership with former NTRL Frank Johnson Medallist Anthony Busch steering the ship.