The stage has been set, the pools locked in and now players and supporters alike are anxiously awaiting the start this weekend's action at the 2018 Australian Ultimate Championships, in Runaway Bay, Gold Coast, Queensland.
The women’s draw at Nationals renders pool play largely inconsequential but the top three teams in each pool avoid the 4/5 pre-quarter game to qualify for quarters. While technically all teams could still make the final after pool play, the road to gold is much harder for teams that finish 4th/5th.
Read on for our predictions for each pool and let us know if you agree or disagree.
A Pool Prediction
2. Zig Theory
4. Chch Chicks
Put simply, Melbourne Ellipsis have looked untouchable en route to Cincinnati Ohio later this year. They have outclassed and outgunned every opponent they've come up against. We don't expect Nationals to be any different.
We predict Zig Theory to get one up over a relatively younger (and shorter) Rogue Passion roster. Runaway Bay is going to be windy and Zig Theory’s Ailsa Enting-Hawke to Michaela Dunmall connection is going to be hard for Rogue to stop. These teams have matched up once before at SMO and Zig Theory came away with the universe point win.
From across the ditch come Chch Chicks, fresh off a strong run at New Zealand Nationals and working towards WUCC 2018. While we don't know them very well, there is some crossover between this team and the NZ national women’s roster that competed in 2016. We expect this team to have an allround spread of skills and be well versed in handling the wind. This experience earns them the win over Fuse, who despite having great throwing talent in the likes of Kat Smith and downfield forces like Rebekah Ziegman and Sophie Tayor, have a poor record of success in the wind.
B Pool Prediction
1. GWS Blaze
We pick GWS Blaze to stay atop the pool at AUC. They’ve handled Factory, among the strongest competition the pool, twice now beating them at both SMO and Eastern Regionals. Coming off an incredible semi-finals run at last year's National Championships, GWS are looking even more cohesive this year. It's no wonder when you run through guns like Hannah Monty, Holly Reeve, Mindy Parker and Bec Carmen, pad this out with plenty of young athletic talent and you’ve got a fiery recipe for success.
Everyone loves a surprise and we’re picking Kaos to provide just that. Kaos have yet to travel to Interstate tournament this year, thus they will be coming into Nationals largely unseen. While fewer games is not often the standard approach to a season of Ultimate, it has served Kaos well in the past, often surprising teams at the big show. As they gear up for WUCC in Cincinnati later this year, their roster is sure to be training hard and packed with athleticism. We think it is this speed and power that will get them the win over Factory.
Factory have enjoyed a relatively successful 2018 season. With key wins over Rogue Passion and Bauhaus. They've successfully integrated that under 24's talent into a roster that was always filled with experience. Factory will take the third spot in the pool leaving Melbourne teams Bauhaus and Phoenix to duke it out for the fourth and fifth spot in the pool.
Bauhaus Elite will get up over Melbourne Phoenix, their experience proving too much for the younger Melbourne team, with veteran talent like Joy Lee and Karen Baker leading their roster.
We can't wait to watch the women's division over the course of this weekend. With so much parity there are bound to be upsets. So tune into Ultimate Australia's Youtube channel To catch all the action live and free!