Only four rounds remain in the East Gippsland Hockey Association’s 2023 season, with little separating the top two women’s teams ahead of Round 12.

Sale is out to take top spot tomorrow, a win over Swan Reach putting them ahead of Maffra on goal difference, with both teams recording seven wins, one draw and one loss.

Draw or lose, Maffra, who have the bye this weekend, remain ladder leaders.

Looking at the past five rounds, it is with almost 100 per cent certainty it will be another Sale/Maffra Grand Final in 2023.

Sale defeated Swan Reach 6-0 in Round 7, at the WORLD Hockey Field in Bairnsdale, with goals from Jennifer McGuinness, Jacqueline Southall, two from Maddison Richards and two from Jess Cull sealing the win over the home side.

Maffra had the bye.

Sale defeated Nagle/Bairnsdale 11-0 in Round 8, also in Bairnsdale.

Jennifer McGuinness put away four goals for Sale, Bianca Klopper two, with goals from Jacqueline Southall, Maddison Richards, Abbie Harrington, Caitlin Frisina and Jess Cull amassing the visitor’s 11-0 victory.

Goals from Gretel Harms and Kahlia Hillbrich sealed Maffra’s 2-0 win over Swan Reach.

Maffra and Sale couldn’t be separated in Round 9, with teams splitting the points following a 1-1 draw at the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex Hockey Field.

Kahlia Hillbrich scored for Maffra, while Caitlin Frisina put one away for Sale.

Sale hit the road in Round 10, meeting Orbost at Orbost Hockey Club.

Sale defeated their hosts 5-0, with two goals from Jacqueline Southall and one from Maddison Richards, Jennifer McGuinness, and Belinda Coulton.

Maffra sealed an 8-0 victory against Nagle/Bairnsdale in Bairnsdale.

Kahlia Hillbrich scored three for Maffra, Chantelle Cormack two and Jo Buckler, Gretel Harms and Tara Lambert one.

Sale had the bye in Round 11, while Maffra defeated Orbost by forfeit.

Next week, in Round 13, Sale takes on Nagle/Bairnsdale, while Maffra meets Swan Reach at WORLD.

It will be a Wellington Shire derby in Round 14 as local rivals Sale and Maffra go head-to-head for their final 2023 season match-up on August 19 at the GRSC Hockey Field.

Round 15 marks the conclusion of the East Gippsland Hockey Association’s 2023 season, with Sale to meet Orbost at WORLD and Maffra to host Nagle/Bairnsdale at the GRSC.

While little separates Maffra and Sale at the top of the women’s ladder, Swan Reach has established itself as the clear leader in the open competition, currently boasting an undefeated season.

As it stands, Swan Reach has won 11 from 11, conceding just three goals and putting away 99, almost double that of second-place Sale, who have scored 50.

Sale is in for a formidable contest this weekend, as they take on Swan Reach at WORLD. Can the underdogs humble the ladder leaders and put an end to their 11-game winning streak? It will be tough, but no team is unbeatable.

Swan Reach defeated Sale 6-0 when they met in Round 7.

While Swan Reach hosts Sale in East Gippsland, Maffra takes on Wellington at the GRSC in Round 12s Wellington Shire darby.

Maffra currently holds fourth spot on the ladder with four wins and seven losses, while Wellington sits fifth with three wins and eight losses.

Wellington will be looking to topple Maffra tomorrow, levelling ladder points with their local rivals ahead of Round 13.

Having lost 5-4 to Wellington in their last meeting, Maffra will be out to set the record straight.