Tamsin Greenway analyses the Vitality Netball Superleague play-off contenders

Saracens Mavericks are one of many 4 groups in rivalry for the remaining play-off spot (Picture Credit score – Ben Lumley)

Tamsin Greenway takes a better take a look at the race for the ultimate play-off place within the Vitality Netball Superleague and runs the rule over the 4 groups which might be nonetheless in rivalry to safe it.

As we head into the ultimate two rounds of the common season, Wasps, Leeds Rhinos Netball, Strathclyde Sirens and Saracens Mavericks are all nonetheless jostling for fourth place.

There are simply three factors separating Wasps in fourth and Mavericks in seventh, and with the entire groups having differing numbers of video games left, the competition may doubtlessly go right down to the ultimate spherical.

On Sunday, Wasps will play their final sport of the common season. Dan Ryan’s Rhinos have a bye weekend, Sirens play one in all their two remaining video games and Mavericks begin their run of three matches.

Vitality Netball Superleague – Spherical 19

Sunday – 12pm Surrey Storm vs Wasps
Sunday – 2pm Strathclyde Sirens vs Celtic Dragons
Sunday – 4pm Workforce Tub Netball vs Saracens Mavericks
Sunday – 6pm London Pulse vs Severn Stars
Monday – 5.15pm London Pulse vs Saracens Mavericks
Tuesday – 7.15pm Loughborough Lightning vs Manchester Thunder

It is the primary time since 2016 that we’re more likely to have a special prime 4 within the semi-finals, which is so vital for the sport. Seeing the emergence of Rhinos and Sirens this season, it has not solely lifted the usual of the competitors, but in addition paved the best way for different groups to consider that they will do the identical too.

Firstly of the 12 months, I believed Wasps would acquire that fourth spot. Nonetheless, they weren’t capable of stamp their authority once they actually wanted to, and their Spherical 18 defeat to Mavericks may show to be extremely pricey, particularly as they had been again within the driving seat.

Having been within the lead for almost all of the match in opposition to Mavericks, Wasps did not see the sport off through the essential moments and I feel that has been the story of their season. Alongside this, they’ve additionally been unfortunate with accidents and replacements; shedding two beginning gamers in the identical positions is tough for any group to recuperate from.

Vitality Netball Superleague’s race for the highest 4

Wasps (4th) Leeds Rhinos (fifth) Strathclyde Sirens (sixth) Saracens Mavericks (seventh)
Factors: 31 Factors: 30 Factors: 29 Factors: 28
Could 29 Workforce Tub (L)
Could 30 Loughborough Lightning (L) Saracens Mavericks (W) Strathclyde Sirens (L)
Could 31 Saracens Mavericks (L) Surrey Storm (W) Wasps (W)
June 13 Surrey Storm Celtic Dragons Workforce Tub
June 14 London Pulse
June 20 London Pulse Manchester Thunder Surrey Storm
June 21 Celtic Dragons
Most doable factors 34 factors 36 factors 35 factors 37 factors

With only one sport left in opposition to Surrey Storm, a match Wasps ought to win, it is left them in a really tough place, as they should depend on others round them to slide up. That is why I do not assume Wasps will get there and safe fourth place.

Crucial factor now for the two-time champions will likely be what they be taught and what they take forwards. They have some unbelievable gamers, however I feel their marketing campaign this 12 months, exhibits simply how vital an on-court attacking chief is inside your group.

In the event you take a look at the highest of the desk, then the likes of Nat Panagarry and Serena Guthrie are the people who drag the group via when all else is failing. Wasps shedding their captain created one other gap for them to fill.

I feel they will spend the low season enthusiastic about that on-court management; the gamers that they’ve already acquired who can step up, and who else they should get in to make it occur subsequent 12 months.

Leeds Rhinos Netball are not only winning, but they're having fun and have gelled quickly as a team (Image credit - Ben Lumley)

Leeds Rhinos Netball usually are not solely successful, however they’re having enjoyable and have gelled rapidly as a group (Picture credit score – Ben Lumley)

One level behind Wasps within the desk are the competitors’s latest franchise, Leeds Rhinos Netball.

Firstly, the willpower that they confirmed to beat the three key accidents early on within the season, to even be on this place, is spectacular. From the outset, Dan Ryan has developed a mode for them and a construction which ensures that he can get essentially the most out of each member of his squad.

In defence, the unit of Vicki Oyesola, Emily Hollingworth, Fi Toner and Jade Clarke have all caught to their head coach’s plan. The best way through which they hustle and observe their opponents has paid dividends and it is enabled them to show over way more ball than I believed they’d in the beginning of the 12 months.

In assault, Rhinos have clicked. Donnell Wallam has been excellent and the moment connection that she’s shaped with each Brie Grierson and Rhea Dixon has been unbelievable.

If Rhinos do make the highest 4, which I feel they may, then will probably be attention-grabbing to see if they will adapt within the play-offs and actually take it to their opponent as they’ve nonetheless not overwhelmed a top-three aspect this 12 months. Their self-discipline in defence and selection within the taking pictures circle will likely be key shifting forwards.

Strathclyde Sirens have developed superbly over the course of the season (Image Credit - Ben Lumley)

Strathclyde Sirens have developed beautifully over the course of the season (Picture Credit score – Ben Lumley)

Strathclyde Sirens, the group that so many have taken to coronary heart this season, observe carefully behind Rhinos on 29 factors. They’re the shock bundle of the season and what has impressed me most about them is their fixed growth.

Whenever you take a look at Sirens’ squad, they do not essentially have anybody that you simply’d label as a ‘huge identify’. There’s not a Mary Cholhok within the circle, a Laura Malcolm in mid-court or an Eboni Usoro-Brown inside their roster. Nonetheless, over the course of the 12 months, each participant has grown and owned their place they usually’ve grow to be stars in their very own proper.

The performances that I’ve seen from the likes of Taylor Cullen in opposition to Liana Leota and the younger taking pictures circle of Emma Barrie and Niamh McCall standing as much as the stress from Jodie Gibson and Razia Quashie once they confronted Mavericks, have been distinctive.

Towera Vinkhumbo has been instrumental for Sirens (Image Credit - Morgan Harlow)

Towera Vinkhumbo has been instrumental for Sirens (Picture Credit score – Morgan Harlow)

Towera Vinkhumbo has acquired to have been the signing of the season, properly maybe she comes an in depth second behind Donnell Wallam, however she’s up there.

Like Dan Ryan, Lesley MacDonald and Karen Atkinson have completed a improbable job at making a construction for Sirens and it is a construction that works for the gamers they’ve, therefore their performances and spectacular steps ahead.

It’s a huge ask for them to make the highest 4 as they face Thunder and Dragons, after which would nonetheless have to depend on Rhinos and Mavericks shedding a sport.

Nonetheless, with Sirens ending the season taking part in the kind of netball that they’re, it lays an unbelievable basis for subsequent. Together with the boldness they’ve gained, they’ve now acquired an actual style of successful, as a result of let’s not neglect that Sirens hadn’t ever gained three matches in a row earlier than this season!

Sirens will wish to retain as many gamers as they will after which actually work laborious on how they will maintain pushing up their makes an attempt to objective.

Saracens Mavericks face Team Bath Netball on Sunday afternoon (Image credit - Ben Lumley)

Saracens Mavericks face Workforce Tub Netball on Sunday afternoon (Picture credit score – Ben Lumley)

Lastly, there’s Mavericks, who nonetheless have three matches to play and essentially the most quantity of factors to achieve, however I nonetheless discover it laborious to place them in pole place.

On Sunday, Mavericks are dealing with Workforce Tub after which they’re up in opposition to a London Pulse aspect which might be itching to achieve one other huge victory, earlier than assembly Surrey Storm.

For my part, the Tub match is a large one. Sure, Mavericks had been the one group to have overwhelmed them this 12 months, nevertheless it was by one objective – 39-38. In Spherical 9, it was good from Mavericks, nevertheless it was a really unhealthy day on the workplace for Anna Stembridge’s group.

At this level within the season, there’s completely no likelihood that Tub will wish to let that occur once more. They are going to know that Mavericks may nonetheless be their semi-final opponents and having been on this place myself, you’d by no means wish to give bragging rights to an opponent going right into a semi-final.

To beat Tub, Mavericks nonetheless have not completed sufficient to persuade me that they’ve fastened their huge drawback, which is their excessive error fee. Though they overcame Wasps in Spherical 18, and deserved that victory in the long run, they had been shedding for almost all of that contest and at instances, by seven or eight targets.

Mavericks have an distinctive squad and in the event that they click on, they will produce magic on courtroom. Whether or not they may do this, and do it throughout each sport till the tip of the season, stays the massive query.

Because the race for the play-offs reaches its closing conclusion, you may’t assist assume, this simply what the league, the followers and the game wanted… a change so as and a battle to the very finish.

Sky Sports activities is your private home of netball. The Vitality Netball Superleague continues with Spherical 19 on Sunday, with 4 matches streamed back-to-back on the Sky Sports activities YouTube channel from 12pm.

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