Marrara Oval

Marrara Oval, currently branded TIO Stadium under a naming rights agreement (and previously also known as Football Park), is a sports ground in Darwin, the capital of Australia's Northern Territory. The ground primarily hosts Australian rules football, cricket, and rugby league.

Marrara Oval
View of the grandstand at Marrara Oval in March 2016
Former namesFootball Park
LocationMarrara, Northern Territory
Coordinates12°23′57″S 130°53′14″E
OwnerGovernment of the Northern Territory
OperatorAFL Northern Territory

Marrara Oval was opened in 1991. It has a capacity of 12,500 people, making it the largest stadium in the Northern Territory. However, the ground has a record attendance of 17,500, set in 2003 for a football game featuring the Indigenous All-Stars. Marrara Oval has hosted at least one Australian Football League (AFL) game in every season since 2004 and at least one National Rugby League (NRL) game in every season since 2012. The ground has also hosted both Test and One Day International (ODI) cricket fixtures, most recently in 2008.


Australian rules football

Marrara Oval was officially opened to the public on 30 June 1991 as the new home of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL), and was conservatively estimated as costing $8 million.[2] The first game played under lights at Marrara was a match between Nightcliff and Southern Districts on 9 December 1994. Transport and Works Minister Daryl Manzie officially handed over the lights to the NTFL that day. Installing the lights cost $1.2 million.[3] The light towers were constructed by Darwin firm Norbuilt.[4]

In February 1992, Marrara Oval hosted its first match sanctioned by the Australian Football League (AFL), a preseason Foster's Cup fixture between Collingwood and West Coast attended by 11,000 people. Further preseason fixtures were hosted at the ground over the next decade, including several Indigenous All-Stars games. A 2003 match between the Indigenous All-Stars and Carlton attracted a crowd of 17,500 people, setting a new ground record.[5] The first regular-season AFL match played at Marrara Oval came in round 20 of the 2004 season, when the Western Bulldogs hosted Port Adelaide.[6]

Between 2004 and 2008 a single Western Bulldogs "home" game was played at the ground each season. In 2010, Melbourne also began to play an annual "home" fixture in Darwin. The Western Bulldogs onsold their 2011 fixture to Richmond, but returned for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Port Adelaide also had a three-year deal with the Northern Territory government and Marrara Oval, in which they would be the "away" team for games at TIO Stadium each year between 2009 and 2012. Since 2014, only one AFL game has been played at Marrara Oval each year.

Marrara Oval has been a secondary home ground of the Adelaide Crows women's team since 2017. In April 2016, the Adelaide Crows launched a successful bid to enter a team in the inaugural AFL Women's season. The bid was constructed in partnership with AFLNT, with the club to share resources and facilities between its Adelaide base and AFLNT's Darwin location. It included a commitment to host some home games in Darwin.[7]

AFL records


Marrara Oval has hosted top-level international cricket on several occasions. In July 2003, the ground hosted the first Test of a series between Australia and Bangladesh. A One Day International (ODI) game between the same teams was played the following month. In July 2004, a second Test was played, the first of a series between Australia and Sri Lanka. After that, top-level international cricket did not return to Marrara Oval until mid-2008, when the ground hosted a three-ODI series between Australia and Bangladesh.[9]

International centuries

Two Test[10] and One ODI[11] centuries have been scored at the venue.

No.ScorePlayerTeamBallsInningsOpposing teamDateResult
1110Darren Lehmann Australia 2212 Bangladesh18 July 2003Won
2100*Steve Waugh Australia 1332 Bangladesh18 July 2003Won
No.ScorePlayerTeamBallsInningsOpposing teamDateResult
1101Ricky Ponting Australia 1181 Bangladesh6 August 2003Won

Rugby league

In the National Rugby League (NRL), the Sydney Roosters played host against the North Queensland Cowboys in Round 7 of the 2012 NRL season in front of 10,008 fans. This was the first time Darwin hosted a professional Rugby League game since 1995.[12] The second game at Marrara came in Round 17 of the 2013 NRL season when the Penrith Panthers (who had previously played games in Darwin during the 1990s) defeated the Gold Coast Titans 40–18 in front of 8,050 for what was a Titans home game.

In 2014, the Parramatta Eels, a Sydney-based National Rugby League (NRL) club, announced they would be playing four games at Marrara over the following four years. The first game came on 9 August (Round 22) during the 2014 NRL season when the Eels defeated the Canberra Raiders 18–10 in front of 9,527 fans.

In 2016 it was confirmed that Marrara Oval would host a quarter-final of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.[13]

Other events

TIO Stadium has hosted AC/DC for their "Ballbreaker" tour in November 1996, when 13,000 fans and 170 tonnes of equipment packed the ground. Sir Elton John performed for the first time in the Northern Territory, at TIO Stadium on 17 May 2008 as part of his Australian Tour.[14][15]

Attendance records

Top 10 sports attendance records
No. Date Teams Sport Competition Crowd
17 February 2003Indigenous All-Stars vs. CarltonAustralian rules footballn/a17,500
212 February 1994Indigenous All-Stars vs. CollingwoodAustralian rules footballn/a15,000
312 August 2006Western Bulldogs vs. Port AdelaideAustralian rules footballAFL14,100
417 November 2017Australia vs. SamoaRugby league2017 RLWC13,473
514 August 2004Western Bulldogs vs. Port AdelaideAustralian rules footballAFL13,271
611 February 2007Indigenous All-Stars vs. EssendonAustralian rules footballn/a13,119
718 June 2005Western Bulldogs vs. CarltonAustralian rules footballAFL13,037
815 July 2017Melbourne vs. AdelaideAustralian rules footballAFL12,104
910 June 2017Parramatta Eels vs. North Queensland CowboysRugby leagueNRL11,968
104 July 2015Melbourne vs. West CoastAustralian rules footballAFL11,873

Last updated on 17 November 2017

See also


  1. McGowan, Marc (13 July 2017). "Sell-out likely as big time footy hits Top End". Bigpond. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  2. Geracitano, Ted (29 June 1991). "Marrara magic: public spotlight shines on colosseum". NT News. News Corp Australia.
  3. Poole, Eric (8 December 1994). "Media release: Northern Territory Government Sports Minister Eric Poole" (Press release). Darwin, Northern Territory: Department of Sport and Recreation.
  4. Morris, Grey (15 November 2004). "Park lights up for footy action". NT News. News Corp Australia.
  5. TIO Stadium Crowds, Austadiums. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  6. Marrara Oval – All Games, AFL Tables. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  7. Burtenshaw, David (29 April 2016). "Women's bid lodged with AFL". Adelaide FC. Bigpond. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  8. "Marrara Oval". AFL Tables.
  9. Marrara Cricket Ground, Darwin, CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  10. "Statistics / Statsguru / Test matches / Batting records". Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  11. "Statistics / Statsguru / Test matches / Batting records". Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  12. "Darwin to host Cowboys and Roosters". NT News. News Corp Australia. 21 September 2011.
  13. "Darwin to host 2017 Rugby League World Cup quarter-final". NT News. News Corp Australia. 19 July 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  14. "Elton John to rock with the crocs". ABC Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 April 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  15. "Sir Elton rolls in for crocodile rock". NT News. News Corp Australia. 1 April 2008. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
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