Thursday, July 5, 2018

Heading into the last three rounds of the regular season, check out the run home for every team that is still eligible for the 2018 playoffs.

1st Bendigo Braves (15-0)
To Come:
Launceston (H), Ballarat (H), Geelong (A), Frankston (H), Nunawading (A)

While Bendigo still need two more wins to secure top spot heading into the playoffs, another thing to keep an eye on will be if they can advance to the post-season undefeated. Only the Dandenong Rangers of the early 1990’s achieved that feat but the Braves look very capable, even with games against the fifth-placed Tornadoes and third-placed Spectres to come.

2nd Kilsyth Cobras (13-3)
To Come:
Geelong (A), Sandringham (A), Frankston (A), Albury/Wodonga (A)

With arguably the best roster on paper coming into the season, Kilsyth have had to juggle a few line-ups to find what works best but their 13-3 record is still exemplary and should see them clinch a top-two finish. They have a rough final three rounds though with four games in a row on the road and while only one of their opponents is a current finalist, that schedule would give a team like Nunawading hope that they can still overtake the Cobras.

3rd Nunawading Spectres (12-4)
To Come:
Ballarat (A), Melbourne (H), Sandringham (A), Bendigo (H)

Having made the playoffs in seven of the past eight seasons, Nunawading are set to feature heavily in the finals once again in 2018. They have a 6-2 record both at home and on the road to prove they are capable of winning anywhere around the league and a Round 15 showdown against Bendigo could be a potential Grand Final preview. Their clash in Round 14 against Sandringham may also determine the order of third and fourth on the ladder.

4th Sandringham Sabres (11-6)
To Come:
Kilsyth (H), Nunawading (H), Sydney Uni (H)

From a 4-4 start, Sandringham have found form and now with a top-four spot beckoning, have a chance to enjoy their best ever season as they have only advanced to the Preliminary Final once in club history. With three games left in their season, it does make it difficult to make up ground on those ahead of them and clashes with Kilsyth and Nunawading will determine whether they can hold off Launceston for the top-four spot.

5th Launceston Tornadoes (10-6)
To Come:
Bendigo (A), Melbourne (A), Diamond Valley (H), Hobart (A)

Expected to feature prominently in the post-season before this year began, Launceston dropped their opening three games of the year. They have since recovered though and with a healthy Lauren Mansfield back in the line-up, have won their past three games. Their record on the road (5-2) is actually far better than their home record (5-4) which means three remaining road games will not daunt them as they fight for a top-four finish.

6th Diamond Valley Eagles (9-7)
To Come:
Hobart (H), Frankston (A), Launceston (A), Ballarat (H)

Another team whose playoff hopes look dashed at one point this season, Diamond Valley have now claimed four wins in a row to throw themselves right back into the finals mix. Making their debut in SEABL this year, it would be a dream start to the club’s new chapter but if the finals started today, they would drop to seventh based on head-to-head results against Dandenong and they are still only a game ahead of ninth-placed Geelong. That means they will need to at least get past Frankston and Ballarat and maybe pick up a win against one of the Tasmanian teams to keep their current position.

7th Dandenong Rangers (9-7)
To Come:
Melbourne (H), Melbourne (A), Hobart (H), Canberra (H)

A massive two weeks is coming up for the Rangers with their back-to-back against Melbourne likely to decide their playoff hopes. The greatest SEABL women’s team of all time could miss their first post-season since 2004, in which time they have won five Championships, and are currently on a three-game losing skid. A split against the Tigers could be enough to hold off their closest rivals but it will put pressure on them to perform at home against Hobart and Canberra in the last two rounds.

8th Melbourne Tigers (8-7)
To Come:
Dandenong (A), Launceston (H), Nunawading (A), Dandenong (H), Sydney Uni (A)

While Dandenong take on Melbourne in back-to-back games, those contests are spread out over four games for the Tigers as they face two double-headers in the next two rounds. Their season is already a marked improvement on last year when they debuted in the league but having won five out of six games between Round 7-10, Melbourne will not want to squander this finals opportunity. Three away games may seemingly make that task more difficult but the Tigers have actually been better on the road than at home this season.

9th Geelong Supercats (9-8)
To Come:
Kilsyth (H), Bendigo (H), Canberra (H)

The reigning Champions have had a difficult season with a limited roster at times but having won five of their last seven games, the Supercats have given themselves a chance. They will certainly earn their spot if they do crack into the top eight with wins against the top two teams potentially required while a sweep for Dandenong or Melbourne in their two games against each other would also benefit Geelong.

10th Hobart Chargers (7-8)
To Come:
Diamond Valley (A), Albury/Wodonga (A), Ballarat (A), Dandenong (A), Launceston (H)

Hobart find themselves only a game back from eighth place and with five games still left in their regular season, they have time to make up the difference. Two tough double-headers on the road in Round 13 and 14 will test their mettle though with the only saving grace being just one of those teams are currently in the top eight. A 3-3 record away from home also means the Chargers are in for a big fortnight.

11th Sydney Uni Sparks (7-9)
To Come:
Canberra (A), Frankston (H), Melbourne (H), Sandringham (A)

Sydney Uni surprised some by making the playoffs in their first season last year but they have their backs against the wall to repeat the feat. They have played one more game than eighth-placed Geelong for one less win and must take care of business against Canberra and Frankston in Round 13 and 14 to keep their playoff chances alive. They then take on Melbourne and Sandringham in the final round and while they will know what is required by then, you would expect the Sparks to need at least one victory from those games to stay alive.

12th Canberra Capitals Academy (5-10)
To Come:
Ballarat (H), Sydney Uni (H), Albury/Wodonga (A), Geelong (A), Dandenong (H)

Following their best ever start to a season, Canberra looked odds on to reach their first playoff series but an ACL injury to Kate Gaze halted their progress. Since then, they have been in freefall with seven straight losses but games against three of the bottom six teams in Round 13 and 14 could get them back on track. Round 15 poses a tough ask though as they visit Geelong before hosting Dandenong.