Buckle your seats, the business end is here

The first of this season's finalists for the coveted Dream11 Super Smash titles is close to being confirmed.

All the contending teams are striving to finish in the top three, with three rounds left (or just two, if you're Auckland or Wellington).

So who's in the box seat, and who's in the hot seat?


There are no prizes for picking that Wellington Blaze is going to qualify.

Unbeaten, with a phenomenal 32 points from eight rounds and a massively fat net run rate advantage over the other five female teams as well, they are already as good as qualified.

Blaze can reach a perfect 40 points if they go through the regular season unbeaten, but even as it stands - with two rounds to go for them - they already have one hand on the top qualifier berth in the 2023 Grand Final on Saturday, 11 February, now little more than two weeks away.

All images | PHOTOSPORT

That's because of the other five teams, only the Canterbury Magicians can still get to 32 points - meaning the Blaze need just one more point to lock in that top spot and forget about run rate mathematics (which as we mentioned, is already hugely in their favour).

But the Central Hinds - the only team already formally out of contention - could break their egg and beat the Magicians under lights tomorrow in Christchurch, and Blaze would be untouchable.

Everyone wants to host a final, so there's plenty to play for in both competitions!

Here's how it works this season:

Thursday 9 February

Women's Elimination Final - hosted by the women's second qualifier

Men's Elimination Final - hosted by the women's second qualifier (doubleheader)

Saturday 11 Febuary

Women's Grand Final - hosted by the men's top qualifier

Men's Grand Final - hosted by the men's top qualifier (doubleheader)

The Central Stags are in the box seat at the moment for the men's Grand Final direct entry, but they can take absolutely nothing for granted with the Otago Volts and Canterbury Kings both breathing down their neck.

Both those sides are just two points behind, with four points available per win - and, none of the men's teams are officially out of it yet, on a much tighter and turbulent table.

The Auckland Aces know they are in a highly vulnerable position at the foot of the table, and can now reach a maximum of only 18 points - where the Stags already sit.

If the Kings beat the Stags tomorrow afternoon at Hagley Oval, the Kings will snatch the lead, and then the pressure will go on the Wellington Firebirds (14 points from 8 rounds) and Northern Brave men (14 points from 7 rounds) the next day in Hamilton to stay in touch!

Follow all that? Great!

Tomorrow's top of the table men's clash is potentially followed by another on Sunday when the Stags will continue their South Island roadie, playing the Otago Volts in Dunedin.

Huge games.

That will also be a massive opportunity for sister team the Otago Sparks, currently in fourth spot on the women's table, to continue the Hinds' misery and keep themselves in the race for the women's qualifying spots.

Should they lose, the Sparks could easily find themselves squeezed out by the Auckland Hearts.

So watch this space. Every win counts this weekend!


Rounds played (current points/maximum possible points)


Central Stags 7 (18/30)

Otago Volts 7 (16/28)

Canterbury Kings 7 (16/28)


Wellington Firebirds 8 (14/22)

Northern Brave 7 (14/26)

Auckland Aces 8 (10/18)


Wellington Blaze 8 (32/40)

Canterbury Magicians 7 (20/32)

Auckland Hearts 8 (16/24)


Otago Sparks 7 (14/26)

Northern Brave 7 (6/18)


Central Hinds 7 (0/12)