Three rounds remain in M-League season

JUST three rounds remain in the 2022/23 Victorian Men’s & Mixed Netball Association’s (VMMNA) M-League competitions, as matches resume tonight at Parkville. Rookie Me Central will take a look at where the leagues stand, and what could happen in the next three weeks ahead of the big finale.


After 10 rounds, three teams have emerged as the front-runners, with big improvers City Heat leading the way. After missing out on missing the final in the 2021/22 season, the Heat started like a house on fire, winning seven straight matches before falling to Netblacks in the round before Christmas, losing by six goals. It would be a surprise not to see City Heat remain on top of the ladder come finals given two of their three matches coming against bottom two sides, Ariels and Darebin Dragons.

St Therese sits second on the table, and after a sluggish start – due to key players missing – the reigning premiers are starting to fire. After eight rounds, St Therese sits at 5-3 and the blockbuster clash with City Heat tonight will determine whether the side is likely to finish top two. St Therese also have the tough challenge of Netblacks next week, before finishing off with the competitive Boroondara Thunder.

Like City Heat, Netblacks have the two matches outside the top three, only playing St Therese in another grand final rematch. They have the winless Darebin Dragons up first tonight, but also play Altona Falcons in the last round who will be no pushovers. Regardless, the top three should remain in some capacity.

The only side likely to dislodge one of the top three is Altona Falcons, having not been disgraced at all this season. The newly named side has been a surprise packet in 2022/23, and will be favourites against Ariels tonight, before taking on Darebin Dragons next round and the tough Netblacks in Round 13.

Of the bottom three teams, only Boroondara Thunder and Ariels can make the finals, with Darebin Dragons 0-9 from their matches. The Thunder will have to wait an extra week to play, before taking on top two sides City Heat and St Therese in what is a rough end to the season. Though they have shown promising signs, the class of those sides should be too much. As for the Ariels, they also have a bye – in Round 12 – with clashes against Altona Falcons and City Heat equally challenging for the team that stung together three of its four wins together at the start of the season.


City Heat vs. St Therese (Court 1 @ 9:40pm)
Netblacks vs. Darebin Dragons (Court 2 @ 9:40pm)
Ariels vs. Altona Falcons (Court 6 @ 9:40pm)


Parkville Panthers have been on a missing in the 2022/23 season with an unbeaten run in their first nine games. After their shock loss to Geelong in the grand final last season after an equally impressive year, the Panthers left no stone unturned in their quest to go one better, setting the benchmark for the Premier Mixed grade.

Three wins clear of rivals Geelong, Parkville will ease back into the season with a match against other ladder bookends Eastside Sonics, who are still searching for their first win. In the polar opposite to Parkville, the Sonics will claim the wooden spoon given they are three games off the second last placed Ariels. After the Sonics, the Panthers take on mid-table sides Melbourne Quakes and Valley Wolves.

Second placed Geelong will be keen to pick up at the pointy end of the season, starting with a 8:20pm clash against LTU tonight. Following that encounter, Geelong will also get the chance to face the struggling Sonics, before a battle with the Quakes in Round 13. Third placed Altona Falcons – who are just percentage behind Geelong – unfortunately have a bye in Round 12 meaning they will need to win their two remaining matches to try and grab second, taking on Valley Wolves and NNE Vipers.

Currently holding prime fourth spot by the skin of their teeth are the NNE Vipers who have a better-than-average 5-4 win-loss record. Unfortunately for the Vipers, they will have to wait an extra week to play given their Round 11 bye, with LTU and Altona Falcons tough opponents in the final fortnight.

Other realistic finals contenders include Melbourne Quakes and Valley Wolves who are a win behind the Vipers with a 4-5 record. Unfortunately for the Quakes, after playing bottom two side Ariels – who are only a win behind them anyway – they lock horns with the top two teams, Parkville Panthers and Geelong. The Wolves have a friendlier draw up against Altona Falcons and Ariels, before the red-hot Panthers in Round 13.

Mathematically LTU can still make finals given it has already had its second bye, but will need to win all of its remaining matches. Though Geelong tonight will be a tough ask, the NNE Vipers and Eastside Sonics in the final fortnight are opponents who LTU is more than capable of stopping and getting the points. Ariels have a bye in the final round meaning their chances of finals have been dashed, taking on Melbourne Quakes and Valley Wolves, while the Sonics have to meet the top two sides, and LTU in the last three rounds.


In the 17 and Under grade, WDNA will be favourites against a much-improved Peninsula Waves when competition returns tonight at 7pm on Court 11, while on the next court, St Therese faces Darebin. At 14 and Under level, St Therese meets Melbourne Up and Comers on Court 2 at the same 7pm timeslot, while WDNA and TBC clash on the main Court 1.

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