Pulling The Flag

Power Rankings

So over the last few days, we’ve showed you the whole of the adult leagues remaining fixtures and how we believe the final standings will pan out.

So just to recap, here are our Power Rankings, as we see the league now and where were we feel things will take shape.

1 Birmingham Lions 

By virtue of the more favourable run in, the Lions should go the rest of the season undefeated and finish the season at 15-0. That means their win percentage will remain in tact. The next relevant tie-breaker will be net points and that is where the Lions will have the advantage over the Baker Street Buttonhookers.

They currently hold that advantage by 32 points. Sure, that’s not a lot and you also have to take into account the extra game the Lions have in their fixtures over the London team. But they have what seems a run in, in which they can go to town on teams and force the issue.

The South playoffs look likely to run through Brum and with that comes byes until the third round.

2: Baker Street Buttonhookers 

Within that run in, the Buttonhookers have to face a return fixture against their new rivals, the current champions, the London Rebels. So that will straight away raise an issue of going undefeated. Now we have predicted a win for the Buttonhookers in that return, nevertheless,  we feel it has seemingly much more potential for a loss, than say the Birmingham Lions against the Cardiff Hurricanes at this stage.

In keeping with the Lions thread, the Hookers also have to match-up against the Victoria Park Panthers, West Essex Showboats, Reading Lions and Aylesbury Vale Spartans. All of which are potentially playoff bound and capable of if not taking a win from them, but affecting their net points average.

The forfeit win they received from the Solent Thrashers no show, will not be included in the tie-breaker.

3: Glasgow Hornets 

The Hornets occupy the third spot, having dropped down from our original preseason ranking of number one. Whilst we still feel they are potentially the strongest team in the North, we’ve lowered down to accommodate the impressive Lions and Buttonhookers.

They do have two very troublesome ties, in the Aberdeen Oilcats and Grangemouth Broncos to come. Even so, earlier in the week, we predicted they will go to the playoffs with a perfect record and a hefty net points average over either the Sheffield Giants or Newcastle Blackhawks, who we foresee one also going undefeated.

They are already 91 points better off than the Giants, who have played one more game and although the Hornets play two games less in total, they should still have plenty in the bank, to make sure the playoffs run through Glasgow.

4: Sheffield Giants 

No surprise then, that the Giants take the fourth spot in the rankings.

They have some obstacles to get over in the way of the Sheffield Vipers, Mansfield Honey Badgers and notably the still undefeated Newcastle Blackhawks.

If they win out, whilst also pegging back the Blackhawks, they should be one of four, funnily enough, the top four in our rankings to maintain a perfect record going into the playoffs and with that, they look likely to get a first round bye.

Their offense and defense are chugging away nicely. They have a net points difference of 276 and that can only be bettered in the whole of the league, by the Glasgow Hornets on 367.

5: London Rebels 

Tough on the champions to be mid-way though the rankings, but the high flying Buttonhookers have eased them down the rankings by virtue of that close 26-24 win. Two points made much the difference as to how the league is currently set up going into the home straight.

The Rebels are clearly more than capable of over turning that loss in the return and are equally capable of not losing a game from here on in. Though we feel that return game is could go they way of the Buttonhookers, don’t be shocked if the veteran Rebels pull it out the bag and level it up.

They do actually have a better net points difference within their SWC Central division, of 30 points. That said, the Buttonhookers have a 50 point better off net points difference overall going into the remaining games.

This just couldn’t be set up any better!

6: Grangemouth Broncos

Storming the HNC currently are the Grangemouth Broncos!

They are the only confirmed division winners thus far in the whole of the league and go into their last three games buoyed by the fact that they realistically need to focus on only one game. That game comes in the form of the also undefeated Glasgow Hornets.

Now we’ve spoken about the likelihood that the Hornets may take that game. But the Broncos can literally throw the kitchen sink at that fixture, as it’s the only one they have on that game day. So look out for them to field their strongest possible line-up for that game.

Now should they win that game, then the landscape of the playoffs would dramatically change, as it would potentially mean that the Sheffield Giants would have the edge over the what would be Grangemouth team. They currently have a 26 points advantage over he Broncos. But if Newcastle were to go undefeated, then the Broncos currently have the edge over them on net points by 59 points.

7: Newcastle Blackhawks

Which leads neatly on to our next team, the Newcastle Blackhawks.

They have been imperious Newcastle defense is what is catching he eye across the league. They have only conceded 98 points so far this season over eight games. That’s an average of just 12.25 per game. A stat that can only be beaten by the Glasgow Hornets, who have conceded 56 over seven games, for an average of 9.0 and the Northants Titans Blue, who have let in 138 over twelve games for an average of 11.5.

That puts them right in the mix this year and we’ve anticipated that they will win out and take on the Sheffield Giants in a winner takes all battle for what would likely be the overall second seed and first round bye.

8: Northants Titans Blue

With three games to go, the Titans are in fine fettle. Because of them having already played more games than most, twelve to be precise, they have racked up 521 points already. That’s an average of 43 per game. Only the Hornets (60), Giants (47), Lions (47), Buttonhookers (45) and Broncos (44) have a more potent offensive and they have more games to play, so you have to add a caveat to those numbers, as the would change as the games take place.

That’s pretty impressive and as mentioned, before, their defense is pretty solid as well. 138 against in twelve games is not to be messed with.

They have a tricky game against the Cardiff Hurricanes to play and they will be kicking themselves at their loss to the Hereford Stampede, but we envisage a favourable first round draw in the playoffs and a possible repeat of the last four, third round tie in the South.

9: Aberdeen Oilcats

A real toss up here between the Oilcats and the Cardiff Hurrianes for the ninth spot. Now whilst we know the Hurricanes are trending back upwards this season, we believe the Oilcats have a much stronger chance of performing well in the playoffs and still have a possible better final placing position available to them.

They have pedigree when it comes to the post season and it would not surprise us one bit if they were to turn it on and make the finals once more.

Their one loss to the Grangemouth Broncos in that close 35-31 game, doesn’t have us worried, but with the Hornets playing the way they are, it doe’s steer us to another loss for the Oilcats.

That said though, if they can win that game and Grangemouth also beat the Oilcats, that would then boost the Oilcats to a possible second place in the HNC, rather than their predicted third place. So their is a massive amount still to play for in the HNC in the remaining fixtures.

10: Cardiff Hurrianes

As mentioned in our previous post, the Cardiff Hurricanes have the most games left of anyone in the league. Right in the middle section of those fixtures, are the Nortnants Titans Blue and Birmingham Lions.

If they were to win those games, the whole narrative of the Hurricanes season would be very different. Assuming they won out, they would then catapult into a likely second seed in the South, with head-to-heads over the Lions a better record that the Titans.

Now if that were to all happen and they were finish on 15-1, and the London Rebels were to beat the Baker Street Buttonhookers, they would all have one loss. The tie-breaker being win percentage first, would then mean the Hurricanes would have a potential 0.938 win percentage and the Buttonhookers and Rebels would have a 0.929 win percentage. That would mean the Hurricanes could finish as top seeds, whilst also potentially putting Birmingham into second with the same percentage, but losing on the head-to-head, thus meaning the two London clubs would drop down.

Got it?

Ummm yeah, tasty possible scenarios there!

What it does mean, is that Cardiff have it all to play for and that’s a pretty big carrot to dangle in front of any team!

Agree with our rankings? Have no clue as to what we are banging on about?

We love the feedback, so get in touch with us, we love it!

 

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