Waratah have leaped off the starting line early in Newcastle Dodgeball League's thirteenth season with a fast-paced 13-5 win over Raymond Terrace in the opening round of the competition.
The Cobras climbed to a 4-0 advantage against the Raccoons as they surged off the mark, and allowed their opening week rivals just two set points in the first half to roll into a 7-2 lead. Raymond Terrace were able to fight back with three in the second half, but a 6-3 run for Waratah sealed the first win of the season for the Season 5 champions.
Season 12 runners-up Belmont also chalked their first win with a 10-4 result over Kotara at Oakdale Road Arena. They were matched by Hamilton in their result, as the Stags also clocked a 10-4 victory at Glendale's expense.
It was a tight battle between Hamilton and the Ghost Busters on Court 1. Glendale grabbed early control in the match, taking a 3-1 lead before the Stags were able to find their feet and hit back with three in a row to take a 4-3 lead into the break.
Led by Alexander and Benjamin McIntyre in the next half, Hamilton were able to apply the pressure for a 6-1 second-stanza record to wave away Glendale's challenge in Round 1.
Finally, Shortland have announced their title defence with a resounding 17-nil win over Bar Beach in the early evening game. The Scotchies rolled through the postseason just months ago to clinch the team's first title. Now they look to have maintained the same dominant form to back their title-tilt as they eye going back-to-back in Season 13.
The Newcastle Dodgeball League Season 13 draw was officially released this week, with the season kicking off on Thursday, August 1 at Oakdale Street Arena in Gateshead.
The opening round of the season will see Season 12 champions Shortland begin their title defence against playoff hopefuls Bar Beach, while league runners-up Belmont look to bounce back from their 10-3 loss in the decider in June.
The Newcastle Dodgeball League Season 13 play-offs will begin on November 7, as the competition breaks into a final-eight elimination format. The grand final is scheduled to be played on Thursday, November 21. The league-wide muck-around game will also be played on that date.
Newcastle Dodgeball organisers have also confirmed the league will again celebrate Women in Dodgeball round on Thursday, September 8, and Pride Round in Round 11 on November 10.
KEY FEATURES OF THE NDL SEASON 13 DRAW
Shortland crowned sixth Newcastle champions after grand final ramapge seals stellar Season 12 campaign
Shortland are the Newcastle Dodgeball League Season 12 champions, after a finals rampage saw them clinch the minor premiership and grand final double.
After falling to Belmont by a single point in the Season 11 postseason last time around, the Scotchies had all the more reason to fire up in the decider against the defending champions. After securing their second straight premiership, again with 38 points, many saw Shortland as favourites to take out the championship with their second chance.
They opened their postseason campaign with an 11-6 victory over Jesmond. Elsewhere in the quarter finals, Belmont defeated Raymond Terrace 10-6, while Hamilton recovered from an early 4-2 deficit to edge first-time finalists Bar Beach 9-5. In the last final-eight clash, Kotara edged the higher seed Waratah in a one-set thriller, marching into the semi-finals off the back of the 7-6 win.
In a rematch of the Season 11 decider, Hamilton and Belmont met in the semi-finals. It was the Beavers that came out triumphant in their third ever postseason meeting, 8-5, despite the Stags holding the regular season head-to-head record against their finals rivals. In the other quarter final, Shortland bounced to an early lead before Kotara climbed back into the contest. The damage was done, however, and the Scotchies moved into the decider off the back of their 10-5 victory.
From there, there as no stopping Shortland. Belmont and the eventual champions traded a set each in the opening two rounds, before the Scotchies took hold of the contest with five straight wins.
The 6-1 lead at half-time seemed near unscaleable, until Belmont claimed the first set out of the gates. It was a victory that took the entire four-minute timer on the round, however, and the Beavers had to ramp up the pace if they were to catch the leading Scotchies. In the end, Shortland were able to capitalise on the on-tick of speed in the game, and strung together four more set wins to tick over into double digits. Belmont claimed one final point in the last-round sudden death timeout, but it was Shortland that claimed the trophy with the 10-3 final result.
The win for the Scotchies, which moves them into the annals of history as the sixth ever Newcastle champions, was the equal biggest margin in a final for the league.
The last time a team claimed a victorious margin of seven was when three-time champions ousted Hamilton in their second grand final meeting in 2014. The Wizards defeated the Stags 13-6 in that fast-paced meeting.
RD1: Fast-starting Waratah launch new campaign in style (02/08)
PRESEASON: Season 13's draw & key fixtures revealed (26/07/19)
Finals: Scotchies clinch first title with rampage over Belmont (21/06)
RD14: Shortland, Hamilton lead top seeds heading into playoffs (07/06)
RD13: Glendale stun Belmont 7-3 to climb out of cellar (31/05)
RD12: Jesmond bundle up Waratah to set race for top four alight (24/05)
RD11: Beavers back on track with win over the Kings (17/05)
RD10: Terrace back in the winner's circle with Hamilton upset (10/05)
RD9: Belmont and Waratah locked at standstill (03/05)
RD8: Stags down 'Tahs in grudge match battle for third (19/04)
RD7: Belmont bounce back with spoiler win against Kotara (12/04)
RD6: Scotches wave away Belmont bid to stay top (05/04)
RD5: Waratah right season with Raccoons win (29/03)
RD4: Shortland stay undefeated with fourth win (22/03)
RD3: Hamilton claim revenge in grand final rematch (15/03)
RD2: Bar Beach hold off Glendale to bag first win (08/03)
RD1: Waratah sweep aside arch-rivals with major margin (01/03)
PRESEASON: Season 12's draw & key fixtures revealed (08/02/19)
PRESEASON: Rego now open for NDL Season 12. (01/02/18)
GF: Belmont edge out Hamilton in two-set grand final epic (16/11)
FINALS: Hamilton and Belmont set up grand final rematch (9/11)
RD14: Waratah down Belmont in heated one-set thriller (2/11)
RD13: Shortland oust Hamilton from first with one to go (26/10)
RD12: Belmont upset Hamilton to blow first place race open (19/10)
RD11: Shortland take second after thriller against Belmont (12/10/18)
RD10: Waratah tumble into fourth place after slow start (5/10/18)
RD9: Top four teams hold off finals-hopefuls (28/09/18)
RD8: Hamilton claim first as league celebrates Ladies Day (21/09/18)
RD7: Shortland and Kotara clash goes down to the wire (14/09/18)
RD6: Waratah keep close on Hamilton's heels (07/09/18)
RD5: Hamilton prevail in grand final rematch (30/08/18)
RD4: Belmont tumble into ladder mix with defeat (24/08/18)
RD3: Waratah cuts Shortland's undefeated streak short (17/08/18)
RD2: Shortland break Terrace to continue strong start (10/08/18)
RD1: Waratah open account against long-standing rivals (03/08/18)
PRESEASON: Season 11's draw & key fixtures revealed (19/07/18)
PRESEASON: Registrations now open for NDL Season 11. (13/07/18)
GF: Hamilton extend dynasty with fifth championship (06/07/18)
SF: Belmont punch ticket to season decider with comeback (29/06/18)
QF: Raymond Terrace scores maiden finals victory (22/06/18)
RD15: Waratah confirm second place, first week bye (15/06/18)
RD14: Waratah steady the ship with key three-set win (08/06/18)
RD13: Belmont ensures the Waratah slide continues (01/06/18)
RD12: Cooks Hill and Belmont remain level with draw (25/05/18)
RD11: Waratah lose sight of first place after defeat (18/05/18)
RD10: Raymond Terrace shock Cookers in sudden death (11/05/18)
RD9: Cookers drop 'Tahs to second with 6-5 slug-fest (04/05/18)
RD8: Hamilton take revenge in Battle of Oakdale (27/04/18)
RD7: Bailey best on field as 'Tahs in cruise-control (20/04/18)
RD6: Waratah break three-year hoodoo over old rivals (13/04/18)
RD5: Hamilton reclaim first place with 13-0 masterclass (06/04/18)
RD4: League's closest round sees 'Tahs take top spot (23/03/18)
RD3: Cooks Hill record first point with 5-5 draw (16/03/18)
RD2: Sudden-death deciders see Hamilton pip Belmont (09/03/18)
RD1: Waratah-Hamilton classic ends in 6-all draw (02/03/18)