After more than 250 matches and 15,000 minutes of action played this year, the Victorian Netball League regular season will come to a close on Wednesday night at the State Netball and Hockey Centre.
Despite the finals makeup of the Championship and 19/Under divisions being decided following the completion of Round 17, there is still plenty to play for in Round 18, with three teams fighting for two spots inside the top four in Division One.
Currently sitting third and fourth respectively on 44 points apiece, the Boroondara Express and the Geelong Cougars Division One clash shapes as the match of the round.
A win for either side would secure a finals berth. A loss, however, would open the door for fifth-placed Peninsula Waves to move into the top four.
The Waves must post a strong win against the second-placed City West Falcons to mount a finals challenge. Currently the Waves’ goal differential is at least 20 goals behind the Cougars and Express.
In Championship, the Falcons are flying high at the top of the ladder following their nail-biting victory against the Melbourne University Lightning last round.
A victory against the Waves on Wednesday would secure the Falcons the Minor Premiership, putting them on track to avenge for last year’s Grand Final disappointment.
A slip-up against the Waves would open the door for the Lightning to clinch top spot, if they can complete the double against the Monash University Storm following their Round Four victory earlier this season.
The Cougars will be looking to re-write the record books in the 19/Under division with a victory against the Express.
After 17 Rounds, the Cougars are undefeated having registered 16 victories with a draw their only blemish against the DC North East Blaze in Round 15.
With the Cougars favoured to easily account for the ninth-placed Express, the best viewing in the 19/Under Division looks set to be between the Blaze and ACU Sovereigns.
In a potential finals preview, the battle between second and third is expected to be a tight tussle, with the Blaze looking to complete the double following their 11-goal victory earlier this season.
Round 18 will commence on Wednesday Night at the SNHC from 7pm.
The Championship semi-finals will be held at the SNHC on Saturday 6 August from 7pm.
VNL Round 18 Fixtures, 7pm
Melbourne University Lightning v Monash University Storm (Court 1)
Peninsula Waves v City West Falcons (Court 2)
DC North East Blaze v ACU Sovereigns (Court 3)
Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels v Wilson Storage Southern Saints (Court 4)
Geelong Cougars v Boroondara Express (Court 5)
For the latest Victorian Netball League news, results and statistics visit vnl.com.au