Gold Coast Ready for AVL Finals Showdown
After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the long awaited Australian Volleyball League (AVL) Finals are here, where two teams will be crowned champions for 2022.
Eight teams from five clubs are on the Gold Coast to compete at the Carrara Indoor Sports Stadium over two action-packed days, with semi-finals on Saturday and medal matches on Sunday.
Entry to the AVL Finals is FREE, but if you can’t make it in person, you can stream every match live and exclusive via Cluch TV.
For all event updates, head to the AVL Finals Facebook Event.
Women’s Semi-final 1: Melbourne Vipers v QLD Pirates
The Melbourne Vipers were almost undefeatable during the seven-round AVL season, but they showed some signs of weakness right before the Finals. The 2019 Women’s reigning champions had not lost a match until the NSW Phoenix spoiled their nine-game winning streak in round six of the tournament. They then faced the QLD Pirates in the seventh and final round, where they lost twice in two surprising five-set battles.
QLD’s triumph over Melbourne in Dandenong, Victoria nudged them above NSW in the overall standings to give them a finals berth. That means Saturday’s game will be a repeat of the final AVL round from two weeks ago. If the Vipers can bring back the form that saw them win nine consecutive games throughout the season, they will be tough to beat, but history shows us that the Pirates are worthy opponents and could knock the Vipers off their pedestal if they bring their best form.
Women’s Semi-final 2: WA Steel v Adelaide Storm
The second women’s semi-final is also too close to call, with either team more than capable of taking the win if they bring their A-game. The WA Steel enter the finals with eight wins under their belt, only one ahead of the Storm’s seven victories this season.
When the teams met each other during round six of the series in South Australia, the Steel won their first game 3:1, but the Storm bounced back to win Sunday’s game 3:2. If both teams perform at their highest potential, Saturday’s semi-final clash might just be the game of the day.
Men’s Semi-final 1: QLD Pirates v Canberra Heat
While they had a shaky start of the season, it’s no surprise that the QLD Pirates are the top ranked team in the Men’s standings. It’s been more than a decade since the Pirates missed the AVL Finals and the Queensland franchise have been reigning AVL Men’s champions since 2016. Even though they lost their opening game of the season, they have won every game since then and have been dominant on their way to the 2022 finals.
However, who was the team to get the single victory over the Pirates? It was the Canberra Heat, who they will meet again in Saturday’s semi-final. There’s no denying both teams have progressed a lot since their first meeting two months ago, and many would argue the Pirates have found their form more than the Heat this season. Canberra must take confidence in the fact that they have defeated Queensland before, and are coming into the finals off back-to-back victories over NSW in the last round.
Men’s Semi-final 2: Adelaide Storm v WA Steel
There’s only one win separating the second ranked Adelaide Storm and third ranked WA Steel coming into Saturday’s semi final on the Gold Coast. The Storm had a bye during the final round of the tournament, so their last games were against the Steel at home in South Australia in mid-November.
When the teams met in round six, the Steel snatched a scrappy five-set victory on Saturday, before two very different starting line-ups took to the court on Sunday, working in the Storm’s favor as they secured a straight set victory. With the Steel coming in confident following two wins over Tasmania in round seven, much like the women’s second semi-final, it could be an incredibly tight contest on Saturday afternoon.