While the race at the top is still hot in Oceanic Nationals, down the bottom it’s all coming down to the wire. Rhythm and LFO have found their first wins of the season in Week 3, while there’s still one playoffs spot up for grabs.
The race at the top might not be the most captivating heading into Oceanic Nationals’ final playday on Wednesday. Instead, the race to secure the final spot in playoffs is where a lot of the focus is.
LFO and Rhythm made the final dash to safety in Week 3, securing their first wins of the season. Rhythm managed to take down their cellar-dweller contemporaries, while LFO snagged a win against Elevate to keep their playoffs dreams alive.
Rhythm’s loss to Noble on Friday was the end of their Oceanic Nationals run — no matter what happens from here on out, Rhythm can’t make the playoffs. They don’t have the head-to-head against Ferox. However, they can still cause a scene with an upset over the Knights.
The team is feeling quietly confident too. After seasons of being ANZ Siege’s punching bag, Rhythm are feeling much more confident, even if their results don’t show it. According to Kaelebb “Lebb” Gordon-Smith, the team is only just starting to hit their stride.
“Everything is so much better. We’re just so much more confident, but we haven’t been able to close out matches. We’re going to be in relegations, but we’re not worried at all to be honest. Everyone’s confident if we just stick on the path we are on and come back at it next season,” Lebb told Snowball.
“This is the first time we’ve been solid, practicing as a team, and everyone has been comfortable with one another. This roster has a lot of potential — I’m old as sh*t — but Drex, Novaix, Bouncin, they’re not even at their peak yet.”
It comes in a season where Lebb really had to step up on the Rhythm lineup. With the departure of Spruce, the former Kanga roster lost a vocal leader. The young lineup has adapted under Lebb’s tutelage though, and with more experience, Rhythm could have what it takes to contest to the top teams.
“Back when Pat and Worthy were on the team, I was just a player. When those two left, I really had to step up and make decisions. Spruce was really good because he was another person I could bounce ideas off. I get along with all the boys amazingly, but his experience was crucial,” he said.
“After losing him, we were a bit lost at first. I was struggling to have that person to go to about things, because all the other boys are very new. What Spruce lacked in frag potential, he made up for in other parts of his game.”Kaelebb “Lebb” Gordon-Smith
“Picking up Bouncin has increased our frag potential, but now it’s just about getting back the other side of our game.”
They’ve shown that potential in Oceanic Nationals. They’ve taken three teams to overtime in Elevate, Wildcard, and Noble. However, they’ve failed to win a single game that’s gone the distance. If they had won even one of them, their season would have taken on a drastically different trajectory.
- Read more: Oceanic Nationals Recap – Week 2
Their match against Noble this week was arguably the most heartbreaking yet, having taken the first round in overtime, only for Noble to fight back. However, it’s close results like those that are only fuelling Rhythm’s motivation, and helping them grow as a team.
“It’s a bit of a meme amongst us at this point. We had a chat about overtimes, and what we came to the conclusion of — maybe it’s just an experience thing, but I think it’s a draining mental thing for us,” Lebb admitted.
“Our game against Noble was really good — I did make some crucial mistakes that probably cost us the game — but our mentality was great heading into overtime. We’ve had a few overtimes we haven’t been able to finish though, and we’ve really got to work on closing games out.”
Being able to go toe-to-toe with two Six Masters finalists — and even the regional champion — has got Rhythm amped. There’s still one game of Oceanic Nationals against Knights in the way, as well as Relegations, but they’re holding out hope for greener pastures in the new year.
“After losing for so long, morale gets a bit low, we stop believing in ourselves. Getting that close this season has made everyone want to work harder, so we should be fine in Relegations,” he said.
“We’re just going to go as hard as we can against Knights. We’re still looking for an org, so whatever good showing we can get we will go for. After that, we will take a break, reset, and then get back into it for Relegations.”
In this week’s other action, Wildcard kept themselves on top after claiming a 2-0 week, but it didn’t come easy with a 8-7 overtime win against Ferox — which included a comeback from 0-5 down.
LFO’s win against Elevate has made their match against Ferox a do-or-die affair for both teams. Okami has also surged up the ladder with wins against Noble and the Knights, and have a chance to claim first if they take Wildcard down on Wednesday.
Elevate managed to lock themselves in for playoffs with their win over Ferox, although a win against Noble could see them sneak into the top four.
Oceanic Nationals returns for its final playday of the regular season on Wednesday, October 7, with Wildcard taking on Okami first at 7pm AEST. You can catch all the action live on the Rainbow Six Twitch channel.
You can follow Lebb on Twitter.
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