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NRL: A look at the week ahead

There is another bumper week of sporting action to look forward to in the week ahead with the conclusion of the Tour de France, plus NRL and AFL action, while Manchester United, Aston Villa, Leeds and Crystal Palace head to Perth.

Penrith Panthers are running away with the minor premiership in the NRL but the race for second spot and the top four could not be much tighter. The same can be said for the top eight and there are some cracking games coming up in round 19.

It is the same in the AFL as you could throw a blanket over the top seven sides on the ladder. There is all to play for and round 19 looks an exciting proposition.

Elsewhere the Tour de France enters its third and final week and the yellow jersey is still very much up for grabs, while there will be stages to battle for before the peloton hits Paris on Sunday.

There is also soccer on the agenda as some Premier League big guns head to the west for two games at Perth’s Optus Stadium.

Plenty to look forward to then so let’s take a closer look at the week ahead.

NRL

Round 19 will get underway on Thursday night when the Parramatta Eels take on the Brisbane Broncos as the battle for the top four hots up.

It is sixth against fifth with the Eels priced at 1/2 to come out on top, while the Broncos are 8/5. Victory for either side could take them into the top four if the Melbourne Storm lose.

That is not out of the question as the Storm are on a shocking run at the moment and have a tough game against the Rabbitohs on the Saturday.

Cronulla Sharks are involved in one of the highlights of the round when they take on the ladder-leaders Penrith. The Panthers are eight points clear at the top and are priced at 5/4 to win the grand final, but the Sharks have their eye on second spot.

Second is currently occupied by the North Queensland Cowboys who will be up against the struggling Wests Tigers in the final game of the round.

Elsewhere and on the Friday night the Dragons will entertain the Sea Eagles, while the Knights will play the Roosters.

The in-form Canberra Raiders will play the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday and the Bulldogs face the Titans on Sunday.


AFL

After a gripping weekend of action just gone, the AFL is also closer than ever as finals football fast approaches.

Geelong and Melbourne sit at the top of the pile on 52 points each. Then come Brisbane, Fremantle and Collingwood all on 48 points, while Sydney and Carlton are on 44.

All to play for then and there are some big game to look forward to. Richmond and Fremantle get things underway on Friday night.

The Dockers need to bounce back after losing to Sydney and are priced at 1/1 to do so. The Tigers can be backed at 41/50.

As always Saturday is a huge day. The reigning premiers Melbourne, who are priced at 11/5 to win the flag once again, take on the Western Bulldogs.

Geelong have a tricky trip to South Australia to take on Port Adelaide, while the Brisbane Lions are on home soil against the Gold Coast Suns.

Buoyed by just their second win of the season in the last round, North Melbourne will be out to go back-to-back against Hawthorn, while Sydney Swans entertain Adelaide.

On Sunday two of the form teams in the comp, Collingwood and Essendon, go head-to-head, while Carlton entertain Greater Western Sydney.

In the final game of the round the West Coast Eagles will host St Kilda.


Conclusion of the Tour de France

The Tour de France will come to its conclusion and it is built up to be an exciting climax as Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar battle it out for the yellow jersey.

Barring any unfortunate circumstances in the remaining days, one of the two will hold yellow in Paris on Sunday.

As things stand Vingegaard 2/7 is in the box seat with an advantage of just over two minutes. Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas is in third spot and looking good to podium.


Perth Festival of Football

Perth’s soccer fans are also in for a treat this week with four English Premier League teams doing battle at Optus Stadium.

Leeds United will play Crystal Palace on Friday 22nd July, before Manchester United then take on Aston Villa on the Saturday.

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