Each weekend in Sydney we are treated to some of the best sporting action, but this weekend really is something special for football fans. There are six matches in the NRL at Sydney stadiums over four nights, and Sydney Swans wrap up the AFL season with a Grand final rematch against Hawthorn. For Sydney’s NRL clubs there is still plenty at stake with two rounds to play. If you missed it earlier in the week, make sure you read our summary of what each club is playing for.
The first of six NRL matches takes place on Friday night at Allianz Stadium, where Wests Tigers host South Sydney Rabbitohs. After his stunning debut last weekend against the Dragons its back to the Under 20’s for Luke Brooks as the salary cap concession that the Tigers were granted only extends to games against teams outside of finals contention. Benji Marshall will return to the halves for his 200th appearance, while the Tigers also welcome back skipper Robbie Farah from injury. They will look to build upon last weeks’ confidence building win at the SCG, and with the danger of a wooden spoon no longer hanging over their heads, the Tigers will want to go out on a high in their final home game of 2013.
Souths have named all four Burgess brothers in a 19 man squad, so there is a good chance that all four brothers will take part in the same match for the first time. A win over the Tigers on Friday night will secure a top two finish for the Bunnies – and a home game in the first week of the finals. It also sets up perfectly next week’s final round clash against the Roosters as a straight shootout for the Minor Premiership. A defeat leaves the door open for Melbourne Storm to sneak into second, and leave Souths facing a trip down south in week one for the second successive season.
Just a few short weeks ago the Sydney Swans were on the back of an impressive winning streak in the AFL, and looking to secure a top two finish. Defeats in recent weeks have ended that push, and only a big win over the Hawks on Friday night at ANZ Stadium leaves them any chance of finishing third. A win for Hawthorn means they could seal the Minor Premiership this weekend, and this Grand Final rematch could actually be a preview of a potential matchup between these two in next weekend’s opening finals round.
The Swans will need to nurse their key players through the remaining games if they are to have any chance of defending their title. Rhyce Shaw, Dan Hannebery and Nick Smith have joined the casualty list this week. Among those coming in to the side are debutant Shane Biggs and veteran Jude Bolton – who announced this week that he will retire at the end of the season. To mark the announcement the Swans are offering a special ticket price for this match. Use the code thanksjude when booking advance tickets online to receive your discount.
Friday 30th August, Allianz Stadium Moore Park 19:35
Wests Tigers v South Sydney Rabbitohs
Friday 30th August, ANZ Stadium Homebush 19:50
Sydney Swans v Hawthorn