The reduction of the roster cap down to 12 teams has meant there are no easy games for anyone at AUC, which is as it should be. But as a result, it will be a bloody brawl on the men’s side of the competition to secure that coveted top four spot in the pool, allowing qualification through to quarter finals.
So without further ado, here’s how we see the pools shaping up on the men’s side of the 2018 Australian Ultimate Championships.
A Pool Predictions
5. Hot Chilly
6. Power Lunch
Colony Plunder have had a dominant season so far en route to WUCC, still yet to suffer a loss in tournament play. But with captains Mark Evans, Tom Tulett and veteran Gavin Moore all out with injuries, their top seed position is a little more precarious. We still see them taking top seed in the pool but they will have to battle through some very tight games to get there.
Next in the pool we’re going with a little more #eastcoastbias, and picking Newcastle I-beam to take the second spot. I-Beam have shown that when they have a full roster, they can notch wins over the best teams in the division. With a calm, patient offence and strong defensive pressure, expect to see Newcastle coming out on top of a few tight games this weekend.
Brisbane Mammoth are pushing for the crown this season, but have yet to really capitalise on the tremendous athleticism of their roster. We see their speed and size being the difference in games against HoS, Chilly and Bench. Mammoth run a large roster with equal play time for all which is great for development but is counter-trend when it comes to tougher games. It’ll be interesting to see how this approach serves them through pool play.
Word on the street is that the Carnage side of the HoS split has been the more dominant at training scrimmages against their WUCC counterparts. Brendan Ashcroft and Seb Barr are a difficult connection to stop at the best of times and bolstered with a young athletic roster, we pick Carnage to take out the last quarter finals spot in Pool A.
Hot Chilly are the other WUCC bound team in this pool but with a lacklustre showing at recent tournaments, we think the strength of this pool will see Hot Chilly relegated to the fifth spot. They have showed flashes of brilliance but have yet to string together any kind of consistent performance.
Lunch (Bench) will be hard pushed to cap any teams in this pool. The quality is just so high and with a few key personnel transfers, we think the food-loving lads from Sydney will definitely push teams, but lack the big game experience to get over the line.
Pool B is a completely different beast but still with plenty of parity across the teams vying for those top 4 spots.
In the early season, Juggernaut failed to deliver when the chips were down, but as the year has progressed the boys from Melbourne have started to find their stride, making it to the final of BCI. We see their aggressive man D and disciplined zone notching therm the wins they need to top Pool B. They are certainly not a lock though, as a shaky offensive line has at time faltered at key moments.
Colony Pillage have had an up and down season so far, with some key personnel losses in Mike Neild and Henry Thomas. They performed well at BCI with only 11 players, Beating Lunch, I-beam and Chilly to make it to semi finals. It’s this blooding of their younger players that will pull Pillage to second in the pool.
We pick Outbreak to surprise a few teams this year, as they remain largely unseen by many this season. With plenty of height and athletic talent, we see them coming out and surprising the spirited. skilled lads from NZ.
On the road to WUCC, Wildcats have lost much of their top end talent to an elite mixed team also gunning for Cincinnati later this year. Coming off a dream run last year to make the final (and win spirit), we don’t think this team has quite the same calibre, falling to fourth in the pool but still qualifying for quarter finals.
With lacklustre results so far this season, especially in the wind, we can’t see Fyshwick qualifying for quarters. With a fair amount of veteran roster turnover, the lads from Canberra are an athletic but inexperienced roster. We see this lack of big game exposure letting them down late in games when the going gets tough.
In a similar boat as Fyshwick, Sublime have plenty of raw talent but very few hard games in the season to cut their teeth on. Isolation works against WA in this sense, as the state produces all-star athletes but incohesive teams. And with the quality at AUC this year, their crazy hops and bids aren’t going to be enough of a difference for this team to clock any pool play wins.
With incredible parity in both pools, we are likely to see some of the best match-ups of 2018 AUC in the early stages of this tournament. So be sure to not miss a beat and tune in and watch via the Ultimate Australia Youtube channel, home of live streams all weekend! We will also be doing a daily recap of the action from Runaway Bay, so check our Facebook page for updates.