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Fourth place is still within the grasp of Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles after Marc Steutel’s men dismantled Championship runners-up Cheshire Phoenix.

A packed Vertu Motors Arena roared the home side to victory on a night when Bristol’s defeat to Caledonia guaranteed the men in black a top six finish.

Eagles are still playing for 4th place thanks to victory over Cheshire Phoenix. (Photos: Gary Forster)

But a win at Manchester tonight — coupled with a Sheffield loss against Plymouth — would seal a top four spot and home advantage in the playoff quarter-finals.

Newcastle rarely looked in serious trouble against a Phoenix side already secure in second place and with one eye on the post-season.

And with six players in double figures, a potentially tricky fixture proved to be the perfect opportunity for Steutel’s men to rediscover their mojo.

Standout guard Larry Austin Jr raced away with the MVP honours against his former club — adding eight rebounds and seven assists to his 16 points.

And Malcolm Delpeche’s double double of 14 points and 11 boards served as a timely reminder that the big man’s a bona fide playoff threat at his bruising best.

Rickey McGill stroked home an Eagles high 24 points despite draining just one of his five attempts from beyond the arc.

And Jordan Johnson was ice cool from the bonus stripe as he converted nine of his 10 free throws.

Tajh Green and Devin Whitfield were the other Newcastle stars in double figures — the latter sinking four of his seven three-pointers.

Rickey McGill ended the game as Eagles top scorer with 24 points. (Photos: Gary Forster)

But coach Steutel will have been proudest of his team’s unrelenting effort under the glass as the hosts outrebounded the Nix 47-37.

It was a fired up Austin Jr who broke the game wide open after the break as he scored the first 10 Eagles points of the quarter.

The US star was involved in an altercation with a number of Cheshire players moments before the restart and both teams were hit with technical fouls.

That spat seemed to spark Austin Jr into action and a personal 8-0 tear opened up a 52-46 lead against Ben Thomas’s shellshocked troops.

There was no coming back for the below-par visitors and no repeat of Newcastle’s final quarter capitulation at the hands of Bristol eight days earlier.

On this occasion Steutel’s men closed out a typically tetchy game in fine style — bringing up the century in the final two minutes and putting themselves back in the top four mix.

Leicester’s shock home defeat to Manchester puts the Riders on 18 losses — one more defeat than the Eagles.

And a Newcastle win against the Giants (5pm tip) will be good enough to keep Rob Paternostro’s men at arms’ length and secure a top five finish.

If Sheffield then go on to lose against bottom club Plymouth (8pm tip), the Eagles will finish fourth and likely set up a three-game quarter-final series against the Sharks.

You can watch the Eagles take on the Giants live on YouTube.