International sport is on the way back, while Australia’s sporting authorities are busy resolving an array of issues regarding new COVID-19 setbacks. Here’s all the latest.
AFL fixture frenzy: 33 games in 19 days
In a desperate bid to keep the season on track, the AFL has scheduled 33 games to be played over the course of 19 consecutive days.
Much like the NBA and the T20 Big Bash League, the packed fixture for rounds nine to 12 means footy fans will have something to watch every day for the best part of three weeks.
This manic run will start on Wednesday, July 29, just two days after the completion of round eight, as the AFL tries to cram 11 rounds into nine weeks.
This is exactly what Victorian footy fans in lockdown need, as a game a night might just keep the state sane until restrictions are lifted again.
Cricket Australia selects 26-man squad for possible UK tour in September
The calendar just passed the midpoint of July and the Australian national cricket teams are still unsure when their next matches will be, but there’s more than hope for a UK tour in September.
Cricket Australia and the England & Wales Cricket Board are in deep discussions about whether the two nations’ mens sides should go ahead with their scheduled One Day International and Twenty20 games in September.
Preparations have been made by the Australian selectors, who have picked 26 players in the event the tour proceeds as planned.
Notable absentees include Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, and Nathan Coulter-Nile, who were all part of the most recent Cricket World Cup squad, while Josh Philippe, Riley Meredith and Daniel Sams have been rewarded for strong form in the BBL.
Australia’s 26-man preliminary squad: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Michael Neser, Josh Philippe, Daniel Sams, D’Arcy Short, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Important round of NRL begins with blockbuster Thursday night clash
Nine rounds of the 2020 NRL Premiership have come and gone, allowing us to assess which teams are in the best position to attack the flag.
There are three matches in round 10 that we have our eyes on as they contain six of the biggest title contenders, meaning these results could heavily affect NRL futures markets.
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It all starts on Thursday night when the Sydney Roosters host the Canberra Raiders. Given the Chooks are confident $3.25 premiership favourites, we want to see how well they deal with the Raiders in the rematch of last year’s NRL Grand Final.
The Saturday afternoon clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Newcastle Knights will also be one to follow, as both teams are dark horses that could bounce into premiership contention with a run of good form.
Although the injury-hit Manly Sea Eagles are priced as $3.70 outsiders against the Parramatta Eels, Des Hasler’s men are known for their ticker and could send the premiership market into a frenzy with an upset win this weekend.
Where will the AFL Grand Final be played?
There has been nonstop discussion over which state and venue will host the 2020 AFL Grand Final – enough, indeed, for Sportsbet to create a market.
The MCG has hosted well over 100 footy grand finals, including every match since 1992, but this could be the 10th time the big dance isn’t held at Australia’s greatest sporting venue.
With Victoria deep into a second wave of COVID-19, the state has been ruled out to host any home-and-away matches for the rest of the season.
If Melbourne is still under restrictions by the time the finals roll around, there is every chance the decider will head interstate for the first time.
We think the choice will come down to either Optus Stadium in Perth or the Gabba in Queensland, for two very different reasons.
Optus Stadium is our first choice as it can fit 60,000 patrons and is shaped almost identically to the MCG, while the Gabba is another strong option as Queensland has helped out tremendously to keep the season alive.
Sportsbet has the Gabba as the early favourite ahead of Optus Stadium and the ‘G.
$2.25 – The Gabba
$3 – Optus Stadium
$4 – MCG
$6 – ANZ Stadium
$15 – Adelaide Oval
$21 Metricon Stadium
$34 – SCG
$81 – Giants Stadium
$101 – GMHBA Stadium, Marvel Stadium
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