2023 VNL | Round 15 preview: One final month to go
TONIGHT signals the beginning of the final month of the 2023 Victorian Netball League (vnl) season, and with seven teams fighting for three spots in the finals series, the last few weeks is going to be hard-fought and entertaining.
It is also another spread out round, with matches taking place tonight and across the weekend.
The action begins tonight with a clash between eighth and 10th, but the game still has some importance in the context of the season. Although Casey does not have much chance to reach the finals, the Demons are only two games behind fourth place at the moment so they are still in the race. They play the bottom placed Ariels tonight, who they comfortably beat last time they played.
Further up the ladder, and tonight’s second match is a top four clash between the City West Falcons and North East Blaze. These two come into tonight’s clash in very different situations, despite both being in the top four.
The Falcons are sitting pretty at the top of the table, all locked into the finals. The Blaze on the other hand are in fourth, but need to keep building the wins to stave off the other teams chasing them. Recent history is not in the Blaze’s favour though, with the Falcons easily winning last time the two sides met.
Tonight’s final game is between Melbourne University Lightning and Peninsula Waves, with the Lightning certainly wanting to make the most of a perfect opportunity to bag some crucial points. Being in the middle of the squeeze for the final few places in the finals, the Lightning will want to bank some points against the lowly ranked Waves and make life for themselves just that little bit easier.
The Waves on the other hand will want to defy expectations and spring a surprise on the Lightning, but history is not in their favour as the Lightning recorded a comfortable win the last time the two sides met.
Moving onto Saturday and the VNL action heads out to country Victoria where Hawks Netball will host Southern Saints. Both the Saints and Hawks are in a similar position to the Dees, so will be desperate to bank the win this weekend. Last time the sides met though, back in April, it was a nine goal win to the Saints.
The final match of the round is on Sunday, and it is another top four clash with the Cougars set to host the Express. Currently second and third, 14 per cent is all that separates the pair at the moment, and the winner of this clash can just about confirm their place in the finals depending on other results.
VICTORIAN NETBALL LEAGUE ROUND 15 FIXTURE
City West Falcons vs North East Blaze – Wednesday
Casey Demons vs Ariels – Wednesday
Melbourne University Lightning vs Peninsula Waves – Wednesday
Hawks Netball vs Wilson Storage Southern Saints – Saturday
Geelong Cougars vs Boroondara Express – Sunday