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This week saw one team secure their spot in the Rocket League Gfinity Elite Series finals, with back-to-back wins.
While leaders are definitely forming, the rest of the pack remains uncertain, although an upset victory gave pause for thought.
The first match of the day featured two of this season’s potentially stronger teams, the Brisbane Deceptors up against the Sydney Chiefs. Neither had seen a loss, though the Deceptors had only faced the two winless Melbourne teams, so their mettle was yet to be truly tested.
The Chiefs were more than willing to be the proving grounds, stomping their opponents 3-0. Even veteran player and wildcard Jake couldn’t save his team from the Sydney side’s sheer skill.
This undefeated run puts Chiefs firmly at the top of the leaderboard and it’ll be a hard task for any other team to match them at this pace, which could make for one-sided finals.
Next week, they’ll face off against the Sydney Roar, giving us a fair idea of the distance between first and second place.
The next match of the day was one of the most important and also the closest, as Melbourne Order faced off against Perth Ground Zero.
Perhaps it’s just home-town bias, but I had pegged Ground Zero to take this match handily. So far, Perth have been impressive, beating Roar last week and having a close showing against the Chiefs in Week 1.
Meanwhile, Order was crushed by the Roar in Week 1 and then couldn’t find a win on Brisbourne Deceptors the following week.
It was a big match for both teams with Perth sitting fourth on the ladder and Order just one spot behind. This is a deciding step to be at so both teams had a lot of incentive.
Right out of the gate, Melbourne were playing like they had something to prove. Their offence was unrelenting and eventually, after much back and forth, Aidan Hul (Zen) managed to make the first goal for his team. This was followed up quickly with another goal, from Phillip Donachie (Dumbo).
Ground Zero were having none of it though and quickly came up with a couple of points themselves to force over time.
Nearly a minute in, Zen managed to get another goal, handing Order the match.
This really set the pace for the overall games, as Order squeezed out a 3-2 victory to keep themselves alive for the weeks to come.
Finally, we saw Sydney Roar face the last-place Melbourne Avant.
It wasn’t exactly pleasant to watch, as the Roar led 3-0 less than halfway into the first game. The second game came a little closer, as Avant found the back of the net, but Sydney still dominated.
The final matchup finished with Sydney winning 6-2. It almost played more like a showcase reel for the Roar, with Avant simply unmatched. This was especially rough for Focusrite, a newcomer to Avant, who did manage a brace – the only two goals his side scored in the final matchup.
It was a showcase of how a well put-together team that passes and communicates can completely outclass one that doesn’t.
Next week we’ll see the second-last match before the playoffs and likely some of the most evenly matched games. Both the bottom teams from Melbourne, Order and Avant, will face off, before Deceptors and Ground Zero play, giving us a bit more insight into what level the Brisbane team is truly at.
Most exciting of all, we’ll see Chiefs and Roar collide, in a match that may well set the pace for the finals.