The One-Arm Wrap – NQL Round 1 Overview

With the first official round of the NQL in the books and the second coming up this weekend, QA Today asks the NSW Quidditch community – what is the competition looking like across both divisions? Here are some of the responses to our call-out.

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Ana Barciela – Macquarie Marauders

For Div 1, I’d say at the Serpents are the best at the moment. After all, they are a team comprised of top level, committed players, who take the sport seriously and train accordingly, all seemingly well versed in quidditch strategy and passionate about it. Their strict recruitment is understandable when you want to play in a team where all the players take the sport seriously. I hope they are paving the way for more competitive, high level community teams to rise, but right now they have that edge on all other teams. I think there’s a clear distinction in Div 1 between the top four (Serpents, Unspeakables, WSQC and ANU) and Newcastle and Macquarie.

Although any of the top teams could challenge Serpents for that first place, especially with the plethora of experience and national and state players they have between them, I consider the Unspeakables their biggest threat. They escape the curse of university teams, that have to work around a squad of players with different level of commitments, due to their ridiculous numbers and three teams. This gives the Unspeakables the advantage of fielding the most competitive, committed and talented players, mirroring what I previously said about Serpents training ethics. Their match up this weekend will be thrilling to watch! 

“Any of the top teams could challenge Serpents for that first place, especially with the plethora of experience and national and state players they have between them”

As for what the teams outside the top four need to do move up, it’s different for each team. Newcastle has been in a consistent level for quite some time now, and I attribute that to a combination of using the same tactics repeatedly, and a reliance on the same players. For elite teams, their pattern is easy to pick up and counter, as they have both the player skill and tactical knowledge to do so. A dynamic change could help Newcastle catch up. As for Macquarie, they’re one of the three teams that had to rebuild after a mass exodus, but the only one in division one. Although a lot claim this to be ‘unfortunate’, it is a great chance to train the new squad up by being thrown in the deep end. As they’re starting back basically from scratch, what they need at the moment is patience, and a lot of training, and to finding the right balance in doing so as to not overwhelm new players and at the same time not bore the experienced ones.

It’s harder for me to pick the best team in Div 2. I think it’s a tight fight for the first spot, but I’m putting my money on Weasleys at the moment. They have worked hard throughout the years to bring themselves to a competitive level, and it was shown last year with them giving top teams close games, and even upset victories. Their relentlessness and unwavering acceptance of all players in the past has provided the team with enough experience and skill to push for that top spot.

That being said, they will face quite a challenge from other teams. The Unbreakables have a very solid chance of topping the division as well, now that USyd has made a split between a B and C team. They have shown promising plays in the games I have watched, and have some stand out players, that hopefully don’t get poached by the Unspeakables so that they can help bring the team up. They’re certainly relentless, and some of their plays in offence are quite risky and unadvisable against elite teams, though mostly successful in their division. Playing against equal teams this year will give them plenty of opportunity to learn hands-on strategy and the right calls to make in a game. We can also not discount UNSW or UTS. Their recent turnover of players makes it hard to predict how well they will do this year, but their history as strong teams, and the coaching of veteran players could guide them to the top of division as well.

My hot take? There are quite a few rematches this tournament of games that did not go well at all in the previous ones, and this is the tournament that will smooth things over and solidify rivalries.

Cooper Fitzgerald – University of Sydney Unspeakables

I’d say the Serpents are the strongest side in NSW right now. Their sheer depth and experience place them above all the teams in NSW. Their chaser game is incredibly powerful and can muscle through any defence if their beaters get the upper hand.

However, the Unspeakables have the ability to challenge the Serpents. Both Serpents and Unspeakables won all of their round 1 games out of range, with the Unspeakables beating Western Sydney out of range, the team who seems likely to place third. The Unspeakables have an upper foot on the Serpents in terms of all round beater play, and the chaser play isn’t too much weaker. The game this Sunday will be very telling as to how the rest of the season will go.

The Unspeakables have the ability to challenge the Serpents.  The Unspeakables have an upper foot on the Serpents in terms of all round beater play, and the chaser play isn’t too much weaker.

In Div 2, I’d say the two strongest teams are the Weasleys and the Unbreakables. The Weasleys have by far the strongest chaser game in div 2, however the Unbreakables have by far the strongest beater line up in div 2. It will interesting to see how the two teams clash.

Division 2 however does feel much more competitive than division 1. There are quite a few new players on the Weasleys, Unbreakables, UTS and UNSW, so it will be quite difficult to pick the order of the teams 6 months from now. Overall, the team that works the hardest will be rewarded, and the Unbreakables probably have the strongest supporting infrastructure so will have the highest potential to improve.

Lachlan Ward – Sydney City Serpents

In terms of the best team in each division – I am biased of course, but the Serpents are the top team at the moment, mainly because they have the best team synergy.  For Division 2, the Weasleys are quite clearly the top team with their high percentage conversion of offences proving the difference as compared to other teams.

There are plenty of teams competing for those top spots though. For Division One, I would say that WSQC and Unspeakables are also serious contenders for the title, with ANU not too far off the pace. For Division 2, I would say that the Unbreakables and UNSW are also with a good chance of winning the division.

“There are plenty of teams competing for those top spots though”

For teams just outside the bubble – I’d say to be able to compete more effectively teams’ snitch on pitch game needs to be improved as there has been a tendency for games to start blowing out in favour of one side once the snitch is released.

#HotTake time: Luke Derrick returning to beating, if he ever does, should be exciting to watch – maybe he will forget what a bludger is.