Michael van Gerwen is looking to make it two wins Down Under in a week when he tops the bill at the New South Wales Darts Masters in Wollongong over the weekend.
Van Gerwen is one of eight PDC stars who have jetted across the globe to take part in three World Series events in Australia and New Zealand – and the long trip was made worthwhile when he lifted the trophy in the first of them in Queensland last Saturday.
The Dutch ace is 3/1 to go back-to-back in a field featuring Gerwyn Price, Jonny Clayton and Queen of the Palace, Fallon Sherrock, plus eight local qualifiers including Aussie World Cup winners Simon Whitlock and Damon Heta.
|What||New South Wales Darts Masters|
|Where||Wollongong, NSW, Australia|
|When||Friday 19th August - Saturday 20th August|
|How to watch||ITV4 (not live)|
|Odds||Michael van Gerwen 3/1, Gerwyn Price 3/1, Dimitri van den Bergh 9/2, Michael Smith 13/2, Jonny Clayton 15/2|
The New South Wales Masters is the fifth of six qualifying events for next month's World Series Finals in Amsterdam.
The six-event series began in New York in June – Michael Smith beating Van Gerwen in the final – and culminates in next week's New Zealand Darts Masters.
Dimitri van den Bergh is provisionally the top seed for the World Series – he has won two of the four events played this summer – with Van Gerwen, Smith and Price breathing down his neck.
The top eight players from the six qualifying events will be seeded in the 24-player World Series Finals.
Van Gerwen is 3/1 for the New South Wales Masters and a hard man to stop right now.
A fiddly start to the year has been long forgotten having claimed glory at the Premier League and World Matchplay this summer – despite having to take time off for an operation to solve a wrist problem.
Last weekend he won the Queensland Masters in Townsville, cementing the belief that even though he's not officially the world No.1, the Green Machine has regained his status as the man they all have to beat.
He didn't have it all his own way in Townsville, though. He was taken to a deciding leg by local hopeful Bailey Marsh in round one and Joe Cullen gave him a working over in the semis. And his tournament average was a pretty modest 92.
He's also in the harder half of the draw in Wollongong, pitted against Simon Whitlock in round one – MVG is 4/11, the Beard available at 11/5 – with Cullen probably waiting in the last eight.
The crowd in Wollongong would love to see a run from Sherrock, who lit up Alexandra Palace two-and-half years ago but whose efforts at mixing it with the men of late have been something of a disappointment.
The Queen of the Palace – drawn against Aussie qualifier Mal Cuming in round one – is 66/1 this weekend and offering little to suggest she can reproduce the form which took her to the final of the Nordic Masters 12 months ago.
She did beat Darius Labanauskas in round one of the Nordic Masters in June but has suffered three other first-round exits, most recently last Friday when she crashed 6-3 to Gordon Mathers.
If Van Gerwen is going well after a sticky start to the year then the same can be said of Price.
The Iceman missed the cut at the Premier League – he paid a price for a hand injury as well as a dip in form – but the world No.1 has roared back in the summer by partnering Clayton to the final at the World Cup, reaching the final of the Matchplay where he looked the best player all week and last Saturday reaching the final of the Queensland Masters.
The connection is that he has fallen short each time but the Welshman, who is 1/33 to see off Koha Kokiri in round one, is 3/1 to get it right this time.
To do so, he may well have to get the better of Van den Bergh – they are seeded to meet in the semis – and the Belgian 9/2 shot is in great form having won two of the four World Series events already played.
If you're wondering why Peter Wright hasn't merited a mention, Snakebite has swerved the Oceanic leg of the World Series tour after undergoing surgery.