Palmerston coach John Wantling says his side are out to “restore a little pride” when they face South Darwin in this weekend’s penultimate round of XXXX Darwin A-Grade Rugby.
The Crocs bounced back from a five-match losing streak to topple Darwin Dragons in their Round 13 clash and all but book their finals ticket with Wantling branding the win their “best result of the season”.
“I was very impressed, it’s been coming for a while and the last two or three games have seen our boys really mesh as a team,” Wantling said.
“We were just missing a little bit in attack and seemed to get bogged down in the middle of the field but we’ve worked on it with some feedback from the boys, rolled out our new structure on Saturday and it all came together.
Palmerston’s forwards dominated all afternoon with prop Bayley Hakes and lock Temuera Biss deserving try-scorers in a 20-10 win at Moulden Oval.
Round 13 A-Grade Results
Palmerston 20 def Darwin Dragons 10
Casuarina 29 def Uni Pirates 10
Now, all eyes are turned to a potential elimination final warm-up between fourth-placed Palmerston and a firing Rabbitohs outfit this Saturday.
“It’s a big relief getting that win over Dragons and having a better read on finals as they were starting to come good but now we’ve got Souths coming up and we know we could face them in a knockout.”
Wantling’s under no illusions about the challenge ahead - the Rabbitohs have twice beaten Palmerston this season, including a 62-0 hiding in their Round 9 clash.
“Souths have a good young team, they’ve come in leaps and bounds this year and while that first game we played was very close (23-12 back in Round 4), the last one was our biggest loss,” he said.
“This game we’ll be looking to restore a little pride, get that pride back, and hopefully it puts us in good stead for finals.”
Round 14 A-Grade Fixtures
Palmerston v South Darwin
Darwin Dragons v Uni Pirates
They’re not the only side with eyes on the playoffs with title favourites Casuarina rolling second-placed Uni Pirates to extend their unbeaten streak to 11 this season.
The Cougars scored four tries to one in a 29-10 rout under lights at Rugby Park with Hosea Fotukava, Talifolau Sitani, Samuela Kanongataa & Waisale Sekitoga sharing the five-pointers.
Uni Pirates didn’t cross the whitewash until the 77th minute and now sit just three point clear of third-placed South Darwin on the XXXX A-Grade ladder with two rounds remaining.
Meanwhile Katherine’s Rucking Roos have rocketed from fourth to the top of the the NT Bitumen & Asphalt B-Grade competition after last weekend’s 24-5 win over the Rabbitohs.
The Roos’ bonus-point victory saw them leapfrog South Darwin, Casuarina and University after the Cougars upset Pirates 10-8 in the early Saturday fixture while Darwin Dragons remain unbeaten in the women’s competition with three rounds to play following Kagui Gimini’s four-try haul against Palmerston.