Newcastle Netball: Nova presented opportunity to pip finals spot as league rolls into playoff mode | preview

Nova Thunder have had a mixed season in the Greater Open Championship, and now face an outside chance to make the finals in the last two weeks of the year. Picture: Isaac McIntyre
Nova Thunder have had a mixed season in the Greater Open Championship, and now face an outside chance to make the finals in the last two weeks of the year. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

With just two weekends left to play in Newcastle’s Greater Open Championship, you could be forgiven for assuming everything has been locked away in terms of standings and finals slots.

For the most part, that rings true, after West Leagues Balance 1 confirmed their second minor premiership with a landslide victory over Forsythes, and the three bottom teams in the league are guaranteed to miss the finals.

For Nova Thunder however, a two point gap is all that separates them from their season ending in two weeks, and a chance to leapfrog Forsythes right before the gate slams shut.

That opportunity presents itself in the form of a massive clash this Saturday afternoon at National Park, as the fourth and fifth placed teams come face to face on Court 9 from 2.30pm.

Should Forsythes claim victory against Nova they will put a four point buffer between themselves and the chasing Thunder squad, confirming the top four sides that will contest playoffs in 2018.

Elsewhere in the coming round, Souths Lions (35 points) play BNC Whanau (32) in a clash between second and third. Last time the two clubs faced off BNC got the better of the Lions by just two goals, as blustery winds dictated the pace of the game.

This time around, Souths enter the contest in high-flying form – they’ve scored 126 goals in their past two games, while conceding just 56 – while BNC haven’t tasted defeat since round 9.

For BNC to overtake Souths, they will also have to see the winning margin blow out far larger than their 42-40 victory in round 6 did, with a 12.35 per cent (Souths) to 9.28 per cent (BNC) tie-breaker not currently going in Whanau’s favour.

Finally, Maryville Tavern Alize (23) and West Leagues Balance 2 (21) will contest their second last round at 3.45pm, with just a thought towards avoiding the wooden spoon for 2018 both club’s main aim. Wests 1 (41) will face last placed Souths Pride (18) in the 2.30pm time slot.

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