P.O. Box 40051, Casuarina 0811
Archer Sporting Complex, Palmerston
Black and white
Originally known as the Internationals, the club was formed in 1971 by a group which consisted primarily of soccer players intent on keeping fit during their off season. After showing some promise as semi-official members of the NTFL Reserves competition in the 1971/72 season the club was admitted to senior ranks the following year and changed its name to North Darwin.
In the pre-Cyclone Tracy seasons of 1972/73 and 1973/74 the club appeared sadly out of its depth, finishing a clear last on both occasions, and with every other club in the NTFL establishing scoring records against it. On one notorious occasion, against Wanderers, the Magpies actually failed to register a single point for the game.
When full scale competition resumed after the cyclone, however, Norths suddenly emerged as a force. Between 1975/76 and 1980/81 the side contested every finals series, reaching the grand final four times. The first three of these appearances ended in disappointment as the Magpies went down to Darwin in 1975/76 by 38 points, St Marys in 1977/78 by 23 points, and Darwin again by 37 points in 1979/80. The club’s first senior premiership came the following season, when Wanderers were vanquished to the tune of a single straight kick after North had established a match-winning 52 point break by three quarter time. Less than a decade earlier the triumph would have been unimaginable.
In 1995/96 the club confidently embarked on a new era, changing its name to North Darwin/Palmerston Magpies after re-locating to Palmerston. A year later the ‘North Darwin’ component of the name was dropped, and a new force in Northern Territory football had arrived. The turn of the century brought consecutive grand final appearances, a 40 point loss to Waratahs in 1999/2000 being followed the next year by a dramatic 11.7 (73) to 8.13 (61) defeat of Darwin. The drama was not just reserved for the on field action: three minutes before the end of the game all four of the Marrara complex floodlights failed after being hit by lightning and play was held up for twenty minutes. Had the delay been just ten minutes longer the NTFL - according to its own by-laws - would have had no option other than to abandon the game. As it was, the final three minutes of the match was played out under the somewhat less than ideal illumination of three floodlights, and the Magpies, already 2 goals up by this stage, had little difficulty holding on to win.
The achievement was repeated in 2001/02 as the Magpies went ‘back to back’ for the first time in the club’s history after downing Nightcliff 21.11 (137) to 12.7 (79) in the grand final.
In 2002/03 the side won the minor premiership only to fail twice in the finals at the hands of St Marys. More recently it has struggled, although 7 wins from 19 matches in 2006/7 represented a marginal improvement on its performances in 2004/5, when it finished last, and 2005/6 (sixth).
John Devaney - Full Points Publications