Vitality Netball Superleague: Reaction to Leeds Rhinos’ points allocation and play-off confirmation
Coaches and fans have shared their reaction to Leeds Rhinos Netball receiving the points for their remaining Vitality Netball Superleague matches, and therefore securing fourth place.
On Tuesday morning the Vitality Netball Superleague Rescheduling Competition Committee announced that Rhinos’ remaining fixtures of the regular season would be cancelled.
A positive COVID-19 result within Rhinos’ squad meant that their Round 20 matches against Dragons and Pulse could not be played.
This was due to a predetermined rule in Superleague: when matches are cancelled because of a positive COVID-19 case, the result of the previous fixture in the season will be applied.
The ruling means that Rhinos, who beat Dragons and Pulse earlier in the year, are awarded six points and will now finish the regular season with 36 points.
Latest Vitality Netball Superleague Standings
The other play-off contenders – Strathclyde Sirens, Saracens Mavericks and Wasps – all do not have enough matches remaining to potentially surpass that tally.
Sirens, who were sitting in fourth before the ruling, can only reach 35 points if they defeat Manchester Thunder in Round 20.
If they win their rescheduled match against Storm, Wasps will sit on 34 points as will Mavericks, if they also beat the same opponent.
Vitality Netball Superleague – Round 20 fixtures
Following the announcement of the ruling and decision, individuals made their thoughts known on social media.
First, Dan Ryan, Leeds Rhinos’ head coach, shared his feelings about how the end of the regular season has played out.
Not how we wanted or envisaged the story to unfold at all! 🤯
But we’re so GRATEFUL & PROUD to have qualified for finals in our inaugural season.
After iso is done, it will be a very quick build up to finals, but like always, we will give this opportunity EVERYTHING we’ve got! https://t.co/Ivb8Eub8QT
Rhinos’ inaugural season has seen them overcome many challenges already. They lost three of their starting players to significant injuries during the opening round, and yet continued to pick up victory after victory without them.
Once those individuals returned, Rhinos have shown how tight they are as a unit and a number of players have received international recognition as a result.
Now, their challenge will be to come out of isolation, complete their five-day ‘Return to Play’ period and prepare for a semi-final in just 24 hours.
For Strathclyde Sirens, the team that were sitting in fourth position with one round remaining, the announcement on Tuesday ended their chances of being present on finals weekend.
It has been a breakthrough season for the Scottish franchise and their technical director Karen Atkinson summarised their thoughts on social media.
A fantastic attitude, togetherness, hard work & trust in the plan! What a brilliant squad to coach alongside the amazing @lesleymac6 @BrownieMaxwell @RachNelson1 @morris_elena. 1 more game to attack! Best of luck to all 4 teams in the finals – they'll be cracking contests! 2/2
No doubt, the outfit will continue to process the decision over the course of the week, before they step out and face Manchester Thunder on Sunday afternoon.
Despite all teams and the Vitality Netball Superleague collectively agreeing on a series of rules relating to the impact of COVID-19 ahead of the competition, the nature of this decision has confused some fans and observers.
No way😳 just especially because look at Pulse and how they are playing… such a close score between their last game against Rhinos!
Tough one… for everyone I think😅 & Sirens🥺
Just doesn’t feel/sit right with me right now 🥴 https://t.co/r6TN8tQrIX
I understand SL clubs agreed to the rule pre-season. But in no other sport is a team (Rhinos) that can't fulfill a fixture – however unfortunate – then rewarded for it! Sirens are currently in fourth position, and have every right to be frustrated with this https://t.co/66ycnC2Kmw
With the decision having been made and points allocated, Leeds Rhinos Netball will be taking their place on finals weekend on June 26 and 27.
Team Bath Netball, Loughborough Lightning and Manchester Thunder all sit above them. With matches still to play, the line-up for the semi-finals will be decided over the course of Round 20 on Sunday and Monday.
The league-leading team at the end of Round 20 will take on Leeds Rhinos Netball in one semi-final, and then the second and third-placed outfits will meet each other.
With three points separating Team Bath, Lightning and Thunder, plus Bath taking on Lightning in Round 20, a number of scenarios are still possible and the final placings could down to goal difference.
If Loughborough Lightning beat Team Bath and Manchester Thunder prevail against the Strathclyde Sirens, then all three would be locked on 51 points.
Sky Sports is your home of netball. The Vitality Netball Superleague continues on Sunday, with four matches back-to-back streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel from 12pm.
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