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NRL: A look at what is on the horizon

All the focus will be on the NRL grand final in the week ahead with the Penrith Panthers set to take on the Parramatta Eels at Accor Stadium.

The preliminary finals were gripping to say the least and if the grand final is similar then all supporters of rugby league will be in for a treat.

The Eels were outstanding as they edged out the North Queensland Cowboys to book their place in the big dance, while the Panthers were given a scare by the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday night before winning with ease in the end.

Penrith will be the hot fancies but the Eels cannot be dismissed and the game could go either way.

The AFL season is now done and dusted with Geelong being crowned as premiers following an emphatic win over the Sydney Swans so it is now time to take a well-earned break.

It is also a quiet week as far as soccer, cricket and rugby union is concerned but we can still take a look ahead at what is on the horizon as it will soon get busy again.

NRL – Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels

The AFL grand final turned out to be a one-sided affair so fingers crossed the NRL version will be a closer-fought battle and much more exciting.

It has the potential to be. These two sides have plenty of history and cannot stand each other. It is one of the biggest rivalries in the NRL so we can expect fireworks.

Penrith have again been the star team of the NRL campaign, but the Eels have proven to be their nemesis.

Brad Arthur’s side has beaten the Panthers on two occasions already this season, but Penrith did then hit back to beat them quite convincingly in the qualifying final.

However this is now a grand final and anything can happen. The Panthers will be the hot fancies and that can bring a certain amount of pressure.

As for the Eels, the pressure is off for once. They have been criticised and written of all season and they have proved the doubters wrong already. Now they will be fired up to put the icing on the cake.

All eyes will now be on both camps throughout the week and fingers crossed there will be no issues on the selection front.

Rugby Union – Wallabies take a break

The Wallabies are not in action this week as their rugby championship campaign has come to a conclusion.

They get a short break before the spring tour and probably need it after they were thumped by the All Blacks at Eden Park on Saturday.

It has not been a happy hunting ground for some time now, but the 40-14 loss was a new low at the famous Auckland venue.

Now they will look to regroup before embarking on the spring tour to Europe which kicks of with a game against Scotland at the end of October.

Games against France, Italy, Ireland and Wales will then follow.

Cricket – West Indies next for the Aussies

Australia will wrap up the three-match series against India in the early hours of Monday morning but will not get much of a break before the next assignment.

That is no surprise with the defence of their T20 World Cup crown fast approaching. Next up for Aaron Finch’s side will be a double-header against the West Indies, with the first match taking place on Wednesday 5th October.

The second match will be two days later on Friday 7th October.

Soccer – Next stop Qatar for the Socceroos

Australia have warmed up nicely for the FIFA World Cup with two victories over New Zealand in the space of a week.

They started with a 1-0 win at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Thursday as Awer Mabil grabbed the only goal of the game in the 32nd minute.

The Socceroos backed it up by doing something the Wallabies could not do – win at Eden Park. They ran out 2-0 winners on Sunday thanks to goals from Mitchell Duke and Jason Cummings.

Next stop is Qatar and the World Cup with the Socceroos facing France in their opening Group D game on 30th November.

Before then attention will turn to the domestic season down under with the 2022/23 A-League campaign set to get underway on Friday 7th October.

The first game is a repeat of last season’s grand final and Melbourne City will be out for revenge against Western United.

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