AVL Round 6 preview – The Finals are Looming
With only two more stops on the road to the AVL Finals, this weekend might prove to be a make-or-break round for teams trying to secure a spot in the top four and a pass for the Gold Coast. It’s the Canberra Heat’s turn to take a bye week and watch from the sidelines, as three exciting AVL double-headers unfold over the weekend.
NSW Phoenix v Melbourne Vipers
Niagara Park Stadium, Niagara Park NSW
Saturday, 12 November: Men 5pm / Women 7pm AEDT
Sunday, 13 November: Men 11am / Women 1pm AEDT
STREAMED LIVE & EXCLUSIVE VIA CLUCH
In the women’s league, Phoenix and Vipers head into the weekend carrying great momentum after both teams won convincingly last week. The Phoenix have a chance to secure a spot in the Finals in front of their home crowds, but the Vipers have only conceded two sets in their entire campaign so far. After the Men’s Storm lost twice last week, The Women’s team from Melbourne is the only undefeated squad in the entire AVL and will try to defend their immaculate record all the way to the Finals.
The vibe in the men’s matches should be slightly different, yet no less exciting. Vipers and Phoenix are at the bottom of the men’s standings, but both teams have plenty of young talents that keep showing signs of improvement every week and promise to entertain the NSW crowds. On paper the Phoenix might have a slight edge, but the VIpers won’t go down without a fight.
Queensland Pirates v Tasmania Echidnas
Iona College, Lindum QLD
Saturday, 12 November: Women 5pm / Men 7pm AEST
Sunday, 13 November: Women 10am / Men 12pm AEST
STREAMED LIVE ON IONA YOUTUBE CHANNEL
This might very well be a match-up between the two bottom teams of the women’s league, but there’s plenty of interesting elements to be played out on the court. The women’s Pirates showed their potential last week, engaging the Storm in two fantastic games and winning one at the decider. Yet, they haven’t been very consistent this season and the still-winless Echidnas will travel to Queensland with nothing to lose, keen to erase that ‘0’ from their wins column.
There is certainly wind in the Men’s Pirates’ sails as the Queenslanders have won seven matches in a row, including a double success in Adelaide to interrupt Storm’s own winning streak last weekend. The Pirates are now second in the standings and look more and more like the team who dominated the AVL in recent years. Yet the Echidnas have surprised before this season – twice, in fact – so the Pirates should not underestimate them.
Adelaide Storm v WA Steel
Lights Community and Sports Centre, Lightsview SA
Saturday, 12 November: Women 3pm / Men 5pm ACDT
Sunday, 13 November: Women 11am / Men 1pm ACDT
STREAMED LIVE & EXCLUSIVE VIA CLUCH
It’s going to be second against third of the women’s AVL standings this weekend in South Australia, for what should be an exciting and spectacular match-up. With the Finals a mere three weeks away, it’s all about momentum at this stage of the season. The Steel are coming in refreshed after their bye week, but the Storm have won three of their last four games at home and won’t give up an inch in a contest that could very well be replayed soon on the Gold Coast.
The Men’s Storm lost their first two matches of the season last weekend against the Pirates, ruining a previously spotless 8-0 record. Coach Slater has been testing a few different line-ups, but he will be hoping to regain focus quickly and recover a few players to full fitness between now and the Finals. The last obstacle on the Storm’s path is a well-rested WA Steel team, who will try to get their own rhythm back after a bye week and make their Finals berth official, heading into the weekend with a 10-point advantage over fifth-placed Echidnas.