With summer fast-approaching, Australians all around the country will be getting ready for another great period of competitive sport. Domestic and international matches are set to take place across Australia between now and the end of 2018 but as in previous years, much of the focus is on Sydney.
Whether it’s cricket, rugby, footy, soccer or something else, New South Wales and Sydney, in particular, is a great centre for sports tourism and there are lots to get through before the year is done.
NRL Gets Down to the Wire
“ANZ stadium at Olympic Park” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Tim J Keegan
We’re getting to the business end of the season as far as Australia’s National Rugby League is concerned and once the semi-finals and preliminary finals are taken care of, the scene is set for the Grand Final which takes place at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney on September 30th.
A number of teams remain in the hunt with two local sides, the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs, hopeful of success but according to odds comparison site Oddschecker, it’s the Melbourne Storm who are favourites for glory in 2018.
Tickets are selling fast for the Grand Final even though we don’t know who the finalists will be at this early stage but it’s still possible to book for the ANZ Stadium and witness Australian Rugby League’s showpiece game.
“virat-kohli-galle-test-afp_806x605_51501” (CC BY 2.0) by bmnnetwork
There is plenty of cricket to look forward to this summer both on the international scene and on the domestic front. South Africa are the first visitors to Australia and they will play three ODIs and a one-off T20 during their stay here.
None of those games will take place at Sydney however so residents of NSW will have to wait until Virat Kohli’s India arrive on these shores a little later in the summer. The Indians kick off a long tour with three T20is, the third of which is scheduled to take place at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday, November 25.
Moving into 2019, the traditional New Year test will also take place at the SCG with India the visitors once again in a game which gets underway on January 2.
There’s a busy international summer in store, while the Big Bash is the country’s showpiece T20 competition. BBL08 begins on the 19th of December 2018 and a long tournament will conclude almost two months later on February 17.
Sydney is one of only two cities in Australia to feature two T20 franchises and both the Sixers and the Thunder have been finalising their squads, ready to do battle once again. The Sydney Cricket Ground is the home of the Sixers and they will get their 2018/19 campaign off and running as they host the Perth Scorchers on December 22.
The Sydney Thunder begin a day earlier on December 21 with a home game against Melbourne Stars. The Thunder traditionally use the Spotless Stadium for their matches and will continue to do so for much of BBL08 but the venue for the Stars game has yet to be confirmed as the ground is already in use.
Australia’s international and domestic cricket matches for 2018/19 will be picked up by all the usual TV networks such as Fox and Seven but why not enhance the experience by taking a trip to New South Wales and enjoy any of the thrilling battles at the SCG or the Spotless Stadium this summer.
Footy Makes way for Soccer
“Mile Jedinak, Aston Villa” (CC BY 2.0) by Ben Sutherland
The 2018 Australian Football season concludes a day earlier than the NRL on September 29th this year. Sydney finished its duties as host to the AFL earlier in the month and with the grand final set for the MCG, residents and tourists will be looking instead to soccer’s new A-League campaign.
New South Wales will be represented by two teams in the A-League and the state’s hopes rest with the Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC. There’s no better way to begin the campaign than by watching at the SCG on 27/10 as those two sides meet in the first local derby of 2018/19.
Along with the Sydney Cricket Ground, spectators can enjoy games at the ANZ Stadium, the Spotless Stadium, the Leichhardt Oval and the Jubilee Oval right through from October to the Grand Final which is set for May 2019.
Venues for the knockout stages have yet to be determined but Sydney as a city is likely to be involved at some point.
While domestic soccer gets ready for the big kick-off, Australia’s national team the Socceroos will be ready to go again after competing at the World Cup finals in Russia. The team didn’t manage to emulate their 2006 predecessors who made it through to the Round of 16 but it was a strong achievement to qualify and the squad now looks forward to future challenges.
Sydney will host the Socceroos for the first time since Russia 2018 when the side takes on Lebanon at Stadium Australia on November 20. It’s a testing prelude for future World Cup qualification and a good chance to head down to what used to be the Telstra Stadium under new Head Coach and former Sydney FC manager Graham Arnold.
The Peak of Horse Racing
“Randwick Races” (CC BY 2.0) by Simon_sees
Sydney will also host its fair share of top class horse racing for the remainder of 2018 and it doesn’t come any bigger than the Everest. We’re only into the second year of this meeting but while it hasn’t yet been granted group status, the Everest is aptly named.
With a purse of $13 million, this is the richest horse race in the whole of Australia and the richest turf renewal in the entire world. Entry comes at a price though with race slots being sold for $600,000 each but with such a big prize fund up for grabs, a strong field is guaranteed.
For those who want to witness one of horse racing’s greatest spectacles, they should get down to Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse on October 13 for the second annual running of the Everest.
Not to Forget…
“opera house, sydney, australia” (CC BY 2.0) by preetamrai
Together with these memorable sporting occasions, Sydney will also play host to the X Games at the Olympic Park between October 19 and 21 plus the Monster Energy Aus-X Open at the Qudos Bank Arena on November 10 so if you like your sport to be a little more extreme, the city has you covered.
When you include all of the great attractions including the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, this part of New South Wales is always going to be a great place to visit but this year we have a sizzling summer of sport down in Sydney and for rugby, cricket, soccer, horse racing fans and more, it’s going to be a season to remember.