The wait is finally over. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a few short months since Manchester United lifted their 20th English Premier League title and the curtain came down on the fabled managerial career of Sir Alex Ferguson but the EPL is back this weekend. It’s been a frantic off-season with a lot of clubs active in the transfer market ahead of matchday one in what promises to be one of the most exciting title races yet. As always you can stay up late with SSC to catch the games that are on and we’ll have plenty more sport across the weekend to keep you entertained.

With the race heating up for a top-eight spot, this will be a critical round of NRL action. Friday night will feature teams at different ends of the table trying to ensure they finish the season strongly. The Bunnies will be eager to turn around their mini form slump, having lost three of their past four games but they may find it hard to get the hop on a Manly side that have won their last five. This game will have a huge bearing on who finishes in the important top-two places and will surely be an entertaining affair with the Stewart brothers in red-hot form and the Rabbitohs welcoming back Greg Inglis and John Sutton to their side.

In the night’s other game Brisbane will host Parramatta and both sides will be just as desperate to win. The lowly Eeels will be trying to string together back-to-back wins as they try to avoid successive wooden spoons, while the Broncos still harbour faint hopes of making it to the finals. These two sides have had some great contests over the years so it should be a high scoring affair.

Saturday night will feature the opening match of the Bledisloe Cup, which is being played just down the road at Homebush. New Head Coach Ewen McKenzie has selected ten Brumbies and five debutants in his first run on side, as the Wallabies try once again to wrestle back the Bledisloe after years of All Blacks dominance. A lot of the responsibility will rest on the shoulders of Matt Toomua, who got the nod at fly-half, while the Kiwis welcome back inspirational captain Richie McKaw after his rugby hiatus following their World Cup win.

Later that night we’ll have the first EPL match of the season, with Liverpool hosting Stoke at Anfield set to kick-off around 9.45pm. The Reds will be without controversial striker Luis Suarez, who has agitated for a more away from Merseyside all off-season as he continues to serve an FA ban. Meanwhile football fans will all be hoping Stoke play a more enterprising style of football under new manager Mark Hughes. Liverpool were recently on our shores as part of their pre-season tour and will be looking to start the season strongly having added a few new faces to their line-up.

Sunday will be a bit of a mixed-bag, with all sports featuring prominently throughout the day. We’ll have Sydney taking on St Kilda in the AFL, two league matches from round 23, the World Rugby Sevens will provide quite a spectacle and of course more EPL games as sides try to kick-start their season in the best possible way. It’s all makes for an entertaining weekend so we hope to see you down here at some stage sporting your team colours.

Damien Bellemore