Jenkinson takes early lead in race for MVP; Jones, Hamiilton and Foot all sit close behind on the leaderboard
Raymond Terrace's Dan Jenkinson has taken an early lead in the race of Season 12's Most Valuable Player, collecting a massive six points in the opening three rounds of the competition.
Jenkinson scored 9 points in 14 regular season rounds last season to collect a place in the overall Team of the Season, beating out Shortland's Hannah Trypas and Kotara's Isaac Davis on the same point haul. Now, he's already collected two-thirds of his total count from last campaign, and could well have defending MVP Emma Hawes' 14 point tally from last season in his eyes.
Raymond Terrace's dangerman is followed closely behind by the defending champion's best performer so far in 2019 - Keagan Jones. Part of the title-winning outfit from Season 12, Jones has kicked on in the new season to collect two of the team's MVP nominations in the opening two weeks, first against Raymond Terrace in the opening week and then just recently against grand final rivals Hamilton in a blockbuster 7-5 battle in Round 3.
Behind Jones sit Bar Beach captain Callum Foot, who has already chalked up three points from a total six available in Season 12, and rookie Glendale catcher Amelia Hamilton, who has burst into the league with two dominant displays to net herself the same haul as Foot.
Although Jenkinson has accumulated a strong early lead, two strong weeks from any player in the mix could boost them right up to the top of the standings, and with eleven regular season rounds still to go in the Newcastle Dodgeball League - and 22 total MVP points up for grabs for each individual player across that time - there's still everything to play for in the race for the highest personal honour in the competition.
To see who else has already picked up MVP points this season, head to the Race for MVP page to see the ongoing leaderboard.
In one of the early blockbuster clashes of Season 12, the third week of the competition saw grand final rivals Hamilton and Belmont come face-to-face just a handful of competitive games after the Beavers claimed their first championship at the Stags' expense.
This time around, Hamilton were able to claim the honours as a slow and steady battle fell their way, 7-5. It was a second half comeback that swapped the results for the Stags, as they trailed 2-4 at the break against the defending champions.
The six-set first half was a tight affair for both sides, with Belmont climbing into the ascendancy with the final two points to break the early 2-all deadlock.
It was the second half that decided the match however, as the 4-2 lead for the Beavers quickly became a 4-all tie again, and Hamilton kept on the pressure to chalk up three more set wins to stretch their lead to three. While Belmont were able to drag one back in a sudden-death decider for the twelfth round, it wasn't enough to bridge the gap and the champions slipped into the loser's circle for the first time in 2019.
The win was a key one for Hamilton, who had started the season 0-2, but despite collecting three points saw very little movement in the standings - a clog of teams on five points have developed from fourth to seventh.
Part of that came from Waratah's 6-7 defeat at the hands of current league leaders Shortland. The Cobras and the Scotchies found themselves all level at 6-apiece heading into the thirteenth and final set, with Shortland able to come out victorious after four quick-fire eliminations put them on the front foot. Waratah's defeat dropped them to a 1-2 record, putting them in the lead of the developing pack.
Bar Beach also lost on Thursday evening, joining the 1-2 group, after a close contest with Kotara fell against them 6-9. The final team locked in the mid-table clump is Raymond Terrace, who delivered Glendale their third loss of Season 12 in the late game on Thursday.
STANDINGS: Shortland, Kotara (9), Belmont (7), Waratah, Raymond Terrace, Hamilton, Bar Beach (5), Glendale (3).
Bar Beach have recorded their first win of 2019 with a 9-5 victory over Glendale on Thursday evening. Combining in a massive team effort, the Boomers levelled their early Season 12 record to 1-1 at the expense of the league newcomers, and moved into fifth place.
The win came from the mid-game of the clash, as Glendale and Bar Beach remained in touching distance for much of the opening sets before captain Callum Foot pulled his team into shape and pushed them into the lead.
Bar Beach, bolstered by the return of last season's most valuable player Emma Hawes, claimed the four-set win in the second half, shutting out an ever-improving Glendale side and keeping their cool to close out the key triumph.
Elsewhere on Thursday evening, Kotara claimed a major upset over runners-up Hamilton, knocking the former champions down into the loser's circle for the second time in as many weeks with a tight 7-6 win. The Kings showed glimmering brilliance either side of half time to lock the Stags out of the match, with Luke Mallet and Keely Duggan's contributions at the front and back of the court respectively proving enough to beat out Hamilton.
The defeat leaves Hamilton with a 0-2 start to their twelfth season in the league, the first time the five-time champions have ever lost both their opening matches in a campaign.
Earlier in the evening, Belmont bounced out to a two-win start to their title defence with a close 7-6 win over Waratah. Despite heading into the break with a 5-1 advantage, the Beavers nearly slipped in the second half, as the Cobras claimed five of their own sets and conceded just two to Belmont to come within touching distance of a second round comeback against the champions.
Finally, Shortland also recorded their second in of the season with a 12-6 win over Raymond Terrace, dropping the Raccoons to a 0-2 start alongside Glendale and Hamilton.
STANDINGS: Shortland, Kotara, Belmont (6), Waratah, Bar Beach (4), Hamilton, Raymond Terrace, Glendale (2)
RD10: Terrace back in the winner's circle with Stags upset (10/04)
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)