Round four of the OWF League is approaching and it could not be more exciting. New Zealand and Samoa look to be the two dominant forces as we approach the halfway mark. Neither of them has registered a loss yet — but that’s about to change. In round four, NZ and Samoa will be going head to head, with the winner guaranteed to finish the week in the number one spot.
By the numbers
After the first three rounds, Samoa’s average score each week sits at a massive 2600kg. That the Samoans have the ability to lift at their peak every month without any signs of slowing down should terrify their opponents. Their consistency has been astounding. Between rounds two and round three, Samoa’s score only changed by 0.2kg. Whereas New Zealand seems to have jumped around a bit more: 2250kg, 1913kg and 2005kg across the three rounds to date.
The raw numbers would suggest Samoa is due for another runaway win this week. However, NZ’s variable results could be due to a carefully implemented strategy, rather than an inability to lift consistently. NZ is sure to gather its best team yet and put up a big fight.
Money, money, money
There’s still a lot of cash up for grabs further down the leaderboard too, and there will be fierce competition in determining second to fourth places. Second place overall is worth $8000 and fourth only $5000. This is where it’s anyone’s game.
Kiribati is the only other unbeaten team left in the competition and sits in third place overall. Kiribati is coming up against the Nauruan team this week, whose young lifters are capable of causing an upset.
You could argue that Kiribati has had an easier run throughout the first few rounds as they have scored around 1400kg each round and still managed to win. This won’t stack up against Nauru this week as their average score is 2000kg.
With the amazing but still very young Nancy Abouke leading the way, plus the 2016 Olympian Elson Brechtefeld and the rest of Nauru’s men’s side crushing some big lifts, Kiribati is going to have its toughest battle yet.
No time to relax
Australia needs to make the most of this week as they are up against ninth place Pacific 2. Australia ideally needs to win by a sizable margin in order to bolster its aggregate score. The team with the biggest aggregate score in the case of a tie will take the top spot.
As the competition goes on, we’re getting a clearer picture of how this will all finish up. The results of this week, even though it’s still early in the competition, could well decide first place. Then when New Zealand comes up against Australia in round six, this won’t only be for bragging rights, but also for an extra few grand in prize money.