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In the meantime, let’s check out how the Patriots of the #BritballNation see things stacking up in the top tier after the weekend’s action:
12. Farnham Knights (1-8-0) | No Change
The Knights’ 30-0 loss to the Aztecs leaves them with just one last chance to save their top tier status – travelling this weekend to take on an Exiles side they got the better of once already this summer.
It’s pretty simple from here – win and survive, lose and take the dive to D1.
11. Kent Exiles (2-7-0) | Down One
Much like Farnham the Exiles were on the receiving end of a one-sided loss last weekend, leaving them with a final, crucial, opportunity to save their season – against the Knights on Sunday.
A win would see the Exiles finish their top tier debut with a respectable 3-7-0 record in their first season, while a loss will leave them adrift at the bottom of the table thanks to Farnham owning the head-to-head.
Two teams with some great individual talents that have had times bringing them to bear at times this year… This one should be a corker of a clash.
10. Leicester Falcons (2-7-0) | Up One
A disappointingly one-sided loss for the Falcons, but at least their offence found a way to put points up on the board after being shutout against Merseyside.
With injuries to key ballers, as well as some losses to transfers, the Falcons’ impressive depth at the start of the season has been decimated, to the point where they fielded less than 30 active ballers against the Titans in their final home fixture of the year.
All that matters for nought though if Leicester can find a way to win against the Wolves this weekend – or alternatively have a helping hand from the Nighthawks with a win over the Giants.
Should they stay up, there’s every possibility the scholarship programme they hoped to have in place this season should kick in ahead of 2020…
9. Edinburgh Wolves (2-7-0) | Down One
The Wolves’ season remains in a state of flux, as they head into their final fixture simply not knowing who’ll be left standing in the Prem North once the dust settles.
From their perspective at least, they can keep things fairly simple – a win this weekend against Leicester would lock up another year of top tier football, and given that the Wolves traditionally play their best balling on home soil, finishing their campaign at Meggetland gives them the best chance to secure premiership status.
8. Sheffield Giants (2-7-0) | Down One
If the Giants drop out of the top tier following this weekend’s games – which, let’s be honest, is looking like perhaps the most likely outcome based on teams’ recent form – it’s very possible that we’d actually see the strongest of the three relegation rivals be the team that takes the dive down to Division Two.
Sheffield got the better of both Leicester and Edinburgh in the most recent meetings, and in truth have fought pretty competitively against the tough teams in the top half of the table, too – the Giants haven’t been blown out by any outfit yet this season, but simply haven’t been able to find a way to bounce back from their 0-5 start to their campaign.
A win over the Nighthawks secures top tier football for 2020… else they’re reliant on the Falcons getting the better of the Wolves up in Edinburgh.
7. London Olympians (4-5-0) | Down One
A burgering from the Warriors, along with a Blitz win over Kent, closes the door on any possibility of postseason action for the Os… and also means that their shot at maintaining their #3 place in the south is at risk.
They need to win this weekend to edge ahead of the Aztecs, and will take some confidence from the fact they fought the Blitz close earlier this year… but taking a win away from them at Finsbury Park would still be a rather impressive and unexpected feat!
6. Bristol Aztecs (4-5-0) | Up One
A nice, shutout win for the Aztecs over the Knights secures them their spot in the top tier… and probably the #3 spot in the South too as few pundits will be picking either the ‘Tecs or O’s to come away with a win in their respective final fixtures of the season.
Some definite progress throughout the year for the Aztecs as they’ve continued to build on their bonds with the Pride. Age-wise, they’ve probably got one of the youngest rosters in the top tier, so will be hoping to see continued improvement going forwards… To rival one of the big London outfits? We’ll have to wait and see.
5. Merseyside Nighthawks (6-3-0) | Down One
Rumblings are the Nighthawks were missing standout ballers in key positions against the Phoenix at the weekend – tough timing, as it’s effectively cost the Nighthawks their chance of a Prem North title regardless of results this weekend.
That said, playoff balling is still within reach, as their couple of fourth-quarter scores against the Titans back in Week Eleven allowed them to maintain the head-to-head tiebreaker, and should Manchester be unable to fend off the Phoenix for a second time this season? A Nighthawks win over the Giants this weekend would allow them to step over the Titans and into the playoffs!
4. Manchester Titans (7-2-0) | Up One
A comfortable-looking win over Leicester means the Titans head into their crucial title-deciding finale with as much momentum as they could muster since their woeful weekend against the Wolves in Week Twelve.
They’ll hope to have all their key playmakers at full health this weekend, as Tamworth are looking more like their old selves every week, and odds are a defeat here would not only cost Manchester their first Prem North title, but also playoff football entirely should the Nighthawks get the better of Sheffield.
3. London Blitz (7-2-0) | No Change
A comfortable win over the Exiles, but it’s not enough to lift the Blitz back into the #2 spot.
They know they’re into playoffs, and they know they’ll be hitting the road… To where, however, remains to be seen.
Do the Blitz head into their final fixture this weekend resting starters ready for either the Titans or Tamworth? Potentially allowing the Olympians to snatch a shock late-season W that would allow London teams to lock up #1, #2 and #3 spots in the south for a second season in a row.
2. Tamworth Phoenix (8-1-0) | No Change
Tamworth stay put in the #2 spot thanks to what looked like a confident outing against the Nighthawks.
Though they’ve had their struggles this season, seeing a wealth of their veteran talent depart either overseas or hang up their cleats, their last couple of outings have looked much more like the Tamworth we’ve come to know in recent seasons – a fast, responsive defence, and an offence that’s beginning to get its mojo back after their disappointing test against the Titans.
The Phoenix have sealed the deal on one title this season, as their U17s team outpaced the senior side in securing a crown already so far this summer… can the flagship adult roster close out the year on a high, too, and avoid a daunting trip down to take on the Warriors on their home soil?
1. London Warriors (9-0-0) | No Change
Warriors Factoid #1: The Warriors have never had a losing season since joining the Leagues in 2008.
Warriors Factoid #2: Having breached 100 wins in 2019, the Warriors currently have an overall win % of over 90% of all fixtures played
Warriors Factoid #3: If the Warriors win versus the Aztecs this weekend, it’ll be their eighth undefeated season, in just twelve National League campaigns!
More factoids when the Warriors inevitably find themselves in the top spot in the rankings next week, too.
This year we’ll also be tracking the rise and fall of each team in the rankings throughout the season with this handy graphic: