Wimmera Hockey Association | Mid-season summary
|This weekend the Wimmera Hockey Association comes out of the mid-season bye, and with all representative commitments for the season now completed, the remaining six weeks of the regular season promise to be intriguing as the teams to contest the finals are decided.
The 2017 regular season is scheduled for fifteen rounds, of which nine have been completed, which allows teams to play each opponent three times. This will then be followed by a three week final series which will culminate with the grand finals hosted by the Horsham Hockey Club at the Dimboola Health and Fitness Centre on the 9th of September.
Over the Open, Women’s and Under 16 competitions, most teams remain in the hunt for a place in the finals, but recent form suggests that they all can have an influence on the final standings.
The top of the Open division ladder has a very similar look as the last five seasons, with the Yanac Tigers undefeated closely followed by the Warrack Hoops and Kaniva Cobras. Either of these latter two teams will need to win four more games than the Tigers to overtake them for top spot, so it would appear that first place on the ladder has already been decided.
The fight for second place will come down to the round 13 clash between the Hoops and Cobras to decide the important second chance, and with the two games between these teams split at one win each, second place is still up in the air.
Most interest will centre upon who will claim the last place in the semi finals. The Dimboola Burras have spent the much of the season so far in fourth place, but the Horsham Hurricanes did displace them for a couple of weeks mid-season.
Even the currently sixth placed Nhill Rangers team has shown some good form, when they can get their best team on the field, so they are also still in the mix for the finals.
This means that every game involving any of these lower three teams will hold some interest and it will only take one or two unpredicted results to change the finishing order.
The game between the Burras and the Hurricanes this week will have a significant influence on the final finishing order.
Current Open ladder after Round 9 -
| || Pts || GD |
| Yanac Tigers || 36 || 26 |
| Warrack Hoops || 24 || 16 |
| Kaniva Cobras || 24 || 5 |
| Dimboola Burras || 10 || -8 |
| Horsham Hurricanes || 10 || -15 |
| Nhill Rangers || 4 || -23 |
With only one loss so far this season, the Dimboola Roos appear destined to go into the finals in the number one position, although they meet their only serious challenger this week when they play the Horsham Jets. A win to the Jets would see them draw equal with the Roos but they would still have an inferior goal difference.
The Kaniva Women still need to win a couple of their remaining six games to confirm a place in the finals, but their schedule should allow them to do this and qualify for a rare appearance in the final four.
Yanac, the 2014 and 2015 premiers, should be able to win enough games to earn the opportunity to remain in the hunt for another grand final berth, but their clash with the Nhill Thunderbirds in round 11 could define their season.
The Thunderbirds are currently in fifth place but they are close enough to fourth to be a challenger for a place in the finals if they can finish ahead in enough of the close games.
The Warrack Women will need to break through for their first win for the season when they play the Thunderbirds this week if they are to keep alive their chances of rising from the bottom of the ladder, but even then they will struggle to earn enough points to pressure the teams above them for a place in the finals.
Current Women’s ladder after Round 9 -
| || Pts || GD |
| Dimboola Roos || 32 || 23 |
| Horsham Jets || 28 || 17 |
| Kaniva Women || 18 || -3 |
| Yanac Women || 16 || -3 |
| Nhill Thunderbirds || 10 || -13 |
| Warrack Women || 4 || -21 |
Recent form suggests that the teams that will play off in the semi finals have already been decided, with too many upsets needed for either the Yanac Warriors or Horsham Bombers to gain the minimum of ten points they would require to break into the top four.
Interest still remains in what order the top four will finish, and which teams will finish in the top two places and earn the second chance in the finals.
The Nhill Leopards and Warrack Revengers, currently the leading two teams on the ladder, both suffered losses in the round before the bye which has reduced the gap between first and fourth to only ten points, and with the Dimboola Kangaroos and Kaniva Raiders have shown sufficient recent form to suggest that they could easily move up.
A game featuring the top two teams will start the next round, and the winner will have a firm grip on top spot, but they will still have to work hard over the remaining five games to stay there.
Current Under 16 ladder after Round 9 -
| || Pts || GD |
| Nhill Leopards || 28 || 29 |
| Warrack Revengers || 26 || 16 |
| Dimboola Kangaroos || 24 || 10 |
| Kaniva Raiders || 18 || -6 |
| Yanac Warriors || 8 || -18 |
| Horsham Bombers || 4 || -31 |
Current Under 12 ladder after Round 9 -
| || Pts || GD|
| Yanac Lowan Stars || 30 || 20|
| Horsham Blackhawks || 22 || -5|
| Dimboola Kookaburras || 18 || 9|
| Kaniva Rampagers || 18 || 8|
| Nhill Bandits || 16 || -10|
| Warracnabeal || 4 || -22|
Round ten preview
The competition resumes this weekend with round ten at Warracknabeal’s Anzac Park.
Feature games will include the top of the ladder clash in the Under 16 competition where the winner out of the Nhill Leopards and the Warrack Revengers will claim outright top position.
Another matchup between leading teams will occur in the Women’s division where the same scenario exists, with top spot on the ladder going to the winner of the Dimboola Roos and Horsham Jets game.
The Warrack Women have the chance to continue their recent improving form when they encounter the Nhill Thunderbirds, the team just above them on the ladder, and the winner of the Kaniva and Yanac game will consolidate their hold on the third place on the ladder.
In the open competition, the Kaniva Cobras take on the undefeated Yanac Tigers and a win would take them past the Warrack Hoops into outright second place.
With the Dimboola Burras and Horsham Hurricanes tied on points and in fourth and fifth places respectively, the winner of their game will take a big step towards a place in the finals.
Round Ten Fixture
- At Anzac Park, Warracknabeal
9.30 am - Under 16 - Nhill Leopards v. Warrack Revengers
11.00 am - Women - Dimboola Roos v. Horsham Jets
12.30 pm - Open - Dimboola Burras v. Horsham Hurricanes
2.00 pm - Open - Kaniva Cobras v. Yanac Tigers
3.30 pm - Open - Nhill Rangers v. Warrack Hoops
9.30 am - Under 16 - Dimboola Kangaroos v. Horsham Bombers
11.00 am - Under 16 - Kaniva Raiders v. Yanac Warriors
12.30 pm - Under 12 -Dimboola Kookaburras v. Horsham Blackhawks
12.30 pm - Under 12 - Nhill Bandits v. Warracknabeal
12.30 pm - Under 12 - Kaniva Rampagers v. Yanac Lowan Stars
2.00 pm - Women - Nhill Thunderbirds v. Warrack Women
3.30 pm - Women - Kaniva Women v. Yanac Women
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