With two pre-season rounds complete, the NSW State League, NQL, finally moves into pool play this coming weekend. With a brand new division system in place, teams can expect close match-ups in every single game they play. The Divisional split is based entirely on the results of pool play from the 2017 season, with six teams in Division 1 and seven in Division 2. Here are the results from pre-season play.
QA Today’s Cameron Caccamo takes a look at the teams that make up Div 2 – including each team’s record, how they’re tracking, and what to expect from them now that we enter pool play. Division 1 analysis can be found here.
Division rivals: 2 games, 1 out-of-range win (WWQC), 1 in-range win (UNBR)
Other games: 4 games, 4 out-of-range losses (WSQC, SERP, ANU, NEW)
The Weasleys had by far the toughest schedule over the two pre-season rounds, with four games against Div 1 opponents. The experience should serve them well for the pool play rounds, where they are certainly amongst the best teams in Div 2. Their squad runs deep, with plenty of experience and plenty of people to ensure they will always have a full squad – and against many Div 2 teams, that will be invaluable.
Match ups this weekend: OPAL, HIHO, UNFO
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY UNBREAKABLES
Division Rivals: 3 games, 2 out-of-range wins (WWQC, SOAP), 1 in-range loss (WEAS)
Other games: 4 games, 4 out-of-range losses (WSQC, SERP, NEW, ANU)
When USyd decided to have a proper B and C team – as opposed to two evenly-matched B teams – there was considerable hype over what the Unbreakables could achieve. With a strong beater squad and a couple of high-performing new players, this is a team capable of winning any game in Div 2.
Their game against Newcastle was close until snitch was on pitch, and impressed considerably in their other losses. Expect them to challenge for the top of Div 2.
Match ups this weekend: SOAP, OPAL, HIHO
Unbreakables brooms-up against Weasleys. PC: Ajantha Abey
UNSW SNAPES ON A PLANE
Division rivals: 2 games, 1 out-of-range win (UNFO), 1 out-of-range loss (UNBR), 1 forfeit (OPAL)
Other games: 3 games, 2 out-of-range losses (UNSP, ANU), 1 in-range loss (MUQC)
Another team with plenty of new players, UNSW is a team on the up. They’ve got plenty of the right pieces, and just needed the preseason to bring it together. A close game against Macquarie will hopefully be a sign of things to come for a team that can definitely challenge teams across Div 2. The game against the Unbreakables should be a good sign of how far they have come since March pre-season.
Match ups this weekend: UNBR, HIHO, WWQC
Division games: 1 game, 1 out-of-range win (WWQC), 1 forfeit (OPAL)
Other games: 1 game, 1 out-of-range loss (SERP)
A hybrid team with only two games of experience, it’s difficult to rank “HiHo” fairly. Given their dominance over Wollongong and the fact that most players on the team have considerable experience – just not with each other – we’ll leave them in the middle of the pack for now, but with games against the Weasleys and the Unbreakables they could prove to be among the best in Div 2.
Match ups this weekend: WEAS, UNBR, UNFO
Division games: 3 games, 3 out-of-range losses (UNBR, WEAS, HIHO)
Other games: 3 games, 3 out-of-range losses (ANU, WSQC, MUQC)
It’s fantastic to have Wollongong back in the fold, and their new players would have appreciated the experience across the pre-season. While three out-of-range games against division rivals isn’t the ideal preseason, the Warriors will get better and better every tournament and will definitely look to make a splash in Div 2.
Match ups this weekend: UNFO, OPAL, SOAP
Division games: 1 game, 1 out-of-range win (UNFO), 2 forfeits (SOAP, HIHO)
Other games: 1 game, 1 out-of-range loss (UNSP)
Not having the extra pre-season games in March hurt UTS, but at the April games they impressed in their game against the Unforgiveables. If they play like that again they can absolutely mix it with the best in Div 2 – and this weekend they get three of the best in the Division to prove it. The problem are those two forfeits – here’s hoping the team can recruit and keep a full, healthy squad for all of their pool play games.
Match ups this weekend: WEAS, UNBR, HIHO
The new look UTS team… and friends. PC: Ajantha Abey
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY UNFORGIVEABLES
Division rivals*: 2 games, 2 out-of-range losses (SOAP, OPAL)
Other games*: 1 game, 1 out-of-range loss (WSQC)
It may look from the results that the Unforgiveables had a stellar day at March pre-season, but that was a totally different team; with none of their new players ready to play, USyd had several players team up with ANU reserves. The April results reflect the real Unforgiveables going forward, a team of almost completely new players.
With the new USQL these new players will be getting far more game experience than many of their counterparts at other teams, but will still need a bit of time to learn the game – and games exclusively against Div 2 opponents will help immensely with that. Expect rapid improvement from the Unforgiveables.
Match ups this weekend: WWQC, WEAS, HIHO