The race for second place – and the first round finals bye – is set to come down to the wire after both Belmont and Waratah secured much-needed victories in the second last regular round.
Waratah’s win over fellow championship-hopefuls Cooks Hill was a necessary win for the team that had led the ladder for much of the first half of the season, as they had coughed up just two wins in their past five matches.
Heading into the half time break the game still looked like anyone’s game, with the Cookers trailing by just one set, 4 to 3.
Sustained pressure in the second half, something the ‘Tahs have been lacking in recent rounds, guaranteed last year’s runners-up the win, and knocked Cooks Hill back into a guaranteed fourth placed finish – they will face either Rutherford or Raymond Terrace in the first week of the finals.
Earlier at Oakdale Arena, Belmont made sure they kept within two points of a second place finish with a 9-4 win over Rutherford. The 5-set victory also marks a month undefeated for the finals hopefuls as they gun for a first semi-final appearance since their founding.
Also in round fourteen, Hamilton held fast to down Raymond Terrace 6-5 and secure the biggest point tally by a table-topping team since Warners Bay’s historic undefeated run to first place in season four.
The Terrace put up a valiant effort however, with Hamilton’s two late set-wins giving them the four-points, and potential league most valuable player for season ten was identified as a key catalyst in the near-win.
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)