IT started off with 10 but the race for the five spots in Hampden league open netball finals action could soon be down to just seven teams.
The half-way mark of the 2019 season is fast approaching and after eight rounds the make up of the final five has a long way to go.
But two teams can be already ruled out and one is hanging on by a thread.
Based on the current ladder a gap has opened at the top and at the bottom.
Undefeated Cobden is streaking away from the chasing pack in its search for back-to-back minor premierships, while Portland could be heading for consecutive wooden spoons.
The Tigers and Hamilton Kangaroos' final chances are alll but gone but Port Fairy is quickly drifting away from the pack and it's hard to see it claw back into finals contention.
Rhiannon Cuomo's Seagulls, who have two wins from eight games, sit eight points adrift of the finals fight and their run home is a difficult situation based on their current form.
Port Fairy has missed one finals series since its flag triumph in 2016 and with who it plays in its final 11 games it looks likely it will miss a second.
The Seagulls play the lower-placed Kangaroos this week and in round 18 plus the Tigers in round 11.
But in between the times they play Hamilton they face South Warrnambool (currently seventh), Cobden, Terang Mortlake (sixth), Camperdown (fifth), Warrnambool (fourth), North Warrnambool Eagles (second) and Koroit (second).
The Magpies, Bloods and Roosters are the three closest teams to the Seagulls based on their current points.
Camperdown's fixture is the most difficult of the trio with two games against Cobden and it plays the Saints, Blues and Eagles in the next five weeks.
But the Magpies' recent form and their record indicates they can keep the Seagulls at bay with Brooke Richardson's side the equal third best defensive team in the league and seventh best in attack.
The Seagulls' defence is also ranked third but their attacking end has been their downfall in 2019.
With just 245 goals scored this season, they are behind lower-placed Hamilton and Portland on scoring output.
Carly Watson, who won a best and fairest in 2016 in defence, was swung into attack early in the season and the move helped the Seagulls gain their only two victories against the Roosters (round one) and Tigers (round two).
But since then the side has not scored more than 33 goals in the past six games and has failed to win a match.
If the Seagulls are to claw back into the race for finals, the work will need to begin at their attacking end with the three teams above them averaging 10 more goals a game.
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