23 Sep 2021
3 min read
There is one burning question for the SLT Team Managers ahead of the Championship Series finale in Malibu – will they ask somebody to make the ultimate sacrifice, or will it just be every man and woman for themselves?
The Super League athletes have embraced the first season of SLT Teams remarkably. We have seen tactics, team bonding and a change in race dynamics as a result of Super League’s latest innovation.
But with points, prizes and cash on the line, does it figure this weekend?
We take a look at a few of the big topics:
There have been dynamics within Teams that have played out not just in individual races but individual stage disciplines.
Nowhere is this more evident than the men’s swim, where Matt Hauser has worked with Vincent Luis for the SLT Scorpions. Hauser has even helped Luis to win Short Chutes to boost his overall Series chances.
But is this weekend different? Luis sits a little further back in the rankings but could still get the title.
However, he is also tied with Hauser for the swim discipline, which carries with it a $20,000 reward. With Hauser having a sea swimming background and this week’s race on Zuma Beach, would he really give up the chance for that payday for Luis? Or will it be every man for himself?
Pretty much no, their lead is practically insurmountable. At nearly 80 points ahead they would practically need to score no points at all in order to lose.
Again it was their women who drove them further forward in Jersey. Utterly dominant, they outscored the next best female team by a huge 33 points, more than the next best team in total. It’s basically like they having two teams in one.
It could be a real battle for second place, with the SLT Sharks boosted by the addition of Lucy Charles-Barclay. They are currently seven points behind the SLT Scorpions, but the data suggests this to be closed in Malibu – currently, we the stats men predict the SLT Scorpions to finish just two points ahead, but that is well within the margin of error and it really is all to play for.
For fourth place, the SLT Cheetahs are being closed on fast by an improving SLT Rhinos side. There is predicted to just be three points between them at the end of the series. Very tight indeed.
It’s the big unknown heading into Malibu. If we feel like maybe we have a grip on race dynamics, individual battles and tactics after three weeks of racing, it may just all go out the window given the calibre of athletes turning up.
Lucy Charles-Barclay goes onto the SLT Sharks and could take the swim points and the first Short Chute given she is the best swimmer in the field. Flora Duffy has the power to disrupt the bike and challenge for the win for the SLT Cheetahs.
Kristian Blummenfelt adds serious race firepower to the SLT Rhinos, while Gustav Iden is on the SLT Eagles. He is perhaps the least favoured to seriously disrupt the event given his long-distance focus, but the SLT Eagles whom he joins don’t need any help anyway.
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