The race for a semi-final berth in the Australian Netball League is set to intensify in Week 6 with three sides in contention for a top four spot in action when the round gets underway in Adelaide.
The feature match from the penultimate round of the season is between the fourth-placed Netball NSW Waratahs and the Southern Force (fifth) at Adelaide’s Netball SA Stadium on Sunday morning. The two sides are separated on the ladder by percentage so the result could be crucial in determining their final positions.
The Waratahs hold a 4-3 advantage over the Force in their head-to-head meetings, but the South Australians have won the past three matches between the two sides, including a thrilling one-goal victory in Adelaide last year.
The sixth-placed Western Sting is also equal on points with the Waratahs and Force and will be looking to stay in the race for a top four finish when they travel across the border to meet the Netball NSW Blues and Canberra Darters over the weekend.
The Sting had the bye last round and coach Stacey Rosman will be keen for her side to build on their last outing, a 15-goal win over the Waratahs in Brisbane, and claim back-to-back wins for the first time since Round 3 last season.
The Sting, who last played finals in 2012, have never lost to the Darters and won five of their six clashes against the Blues.
The Darters will wrap up their 2014 campaign in Adelaide this weekend and, having claimed their first win of the season on their home court in Canberra last weekend, will be eager to finish the season on a high.
The make-up of the ladder won’t be finalised until the round finishes at Sydney’s Anne Clark Centre next Wednesday night when the two New South Wales meet in their annual derby.
The Waratahs have held the edge over their Sydney rivals since the league commenced, winning five of their six previous meetings. The Blues sole victory was their very first encounter in 2008 and the match against their cross-town rivals will be their last outing for the 2014 season.
Top three sides the Victorian Fury, QLD Fusion and Victorian Flames have the bye this weekend along with the Tassie Spirit and Territory Storm.