After nine rounds of action in the North Pilbara Football League 2022 season, the battle for top spot is set to go down to the wire with just eight points separating the top three sides.
With some teams looking to next year and others to the Holy Grail, Pilbara News takes a look at the season so far and which clubs are set for a finals tilt.
The Dampier Sharks’ premiership defence is looking strong with the club securing eight wins from nine games to sit on top of the ladder with a finals berth secured.
The club started the year off with a shock 34-point loss to Wickham Wolves but found their groove in round two and have not looked back.
After their opening round loss, the Sharks have rattled off eight wins in a row and now sit four points clear of second placed Karratha Kats.
The club has secured victories over every side in the competition including a monster 132-point thrashing of the struggling Port Hedland Rovers.
The reserves side has also performed strongly this season, firing off seven wins and just two losses to sit in top spot on the ladder.
The always strong Karratha Kats look dangerous once again and are set for another tilt at the flag as they sit in second spot on the ladder with six rounds left.
The Kats have secured seven wins from the opening nine games, with their only losses coming from the Dampier Sharks.
The Millar’s Well based side trail the Sharks by just four points and have recorded crushing victories over Port Hedland Rovers and South Hedland Swans to sit with a percentage of 155.06.
The reserves side is also second on the ladder with five wins from nine games and remain four points ahead of South Hedland Swans and Karratha Falcons.
An opening round win against the reigning premiers fired a warning shot for the rest of the competition that the Wolves would be a genuine contender this year.
Currently sitting in third on the ladder with 24 points, the Wolves have shown they can mix it with the top sides in the competition.
Since their victory over the Sharks, the Wickham side has gone 5-3 with their only losses coming from clubs in the top four.
Meanwhile, the reserves squad sits bottom of the ladder but are just two wins behind second placed Karratha Kats in a tight and enthralling season.
The Falcons spoke of making a genuine finals tilt this year and so far have shown they have what it takes.
Begining with a nail-biting loss to the Karratha Kats, the Bulgarra side has fought bravely to sit in fourth place, 12 points clear of the bottom two and all but guaranteed a finals birth.
A win over third placed Wickham showed the side could mix it with the top four and a close loss to the Kats revealed the club’s heart as they fought to the bitter end.
Big losses to the Sharks mean the Dampier side looks like a bridge too far for the Falcons, but the side remains firmly in the hunt.
Three of the club’s six losses have been by 13 points or less, while its only blowout defeats are at the hands of the Sharks and one loss to the Wolves.
The reserves squad also sits fourth on the ladder, just 0.29 percentage points behind third placed South Hedland Swans.
South Hedland Swans
The Swans remain a far cry from the side that claimed the 2020 NPFL premiership and have struggled again this season with two wins and seven losses.
The season started well with a win over the Port Hedland Rovers but since then the club has gone 1-7 in eight games.
A three point victory over a visiting Karratha Falcons has been the sole bright spot in that period.
The club sits in fifth, trailing Falcons by eight points.
In the reserves the Swans are faring better, sitting third with four wins and five losses and sit just four points behind the second placed Karratha Kats.
Port Hedland Rovers
It has been a season to forget for the Port Hedland Rovers.
Currently last on the ladder, the Port side has won just one game this season — a third round victory against the visiting Karratha Falcons — and suffered eight losses.
Crushing defeats of more than 100 points at the hands of Karratha Kats, Wickham Wolves and Dampier Sharks have shown how far behind the Rovers are.
Meanwhile the reserves are in fifth place and tied with points with their cross town rivals the Swans in third.
Round 10 of the NPFL season kicks off on July 8.