Finals football kicks off in earnest this weekend with round one of the NRL play-offs getting underway alongside week two of the finals in the AFL. Both codes now adopt the same system, which sees the top four sides earn a second chance, while the bottom four sides play elimination matches three weeks in a row if they’re to book a place at the main dance. There’s plenty of other sport on throughout the weekend also, so let us waltz you through what’s coming up.

Tonight will see the Rabbitohs and Storm kick things off, as the apprentice Michael McGuire once again takes on his former mentor Craig Bellamy. The Bunnies will be eager to atone for missing out on the minor-premiership after losing to the Roosters last weekend but it will not be easy against the premiers, who always seem to fire at the right time of the season.

Saturday night will see the Wallabies desperate to earn their first win of the Rugby Championship when they host Argentina in Perth. Australia have copped some hidings while trying to adjust to the style of play new coach Ewen McKenzie wants to employ but nothing will beat tough, grinding rugby if they want to overcome the Pumas.

The Aussies will also be looking to continue their changing fortunes in the cricket when they take on England in the fourth one-day international. Captain Clarke led from the front in game two with a superb century after the first match was washed out and the Aussies will be desperate to get some more psychological points over the Poms ahead of the return home Ashes series at the end of the year.

In terms of the NRL, Sydney will be hosting an amazing double header with the Sharks taking on the Cowboys and Roosters playing the Sea Eagles. All four teams have enjoyed strong finishes to end the regular season but that counts for nothing come finals. There’s sure to be plenty of big hits and spectacular tries so make sure you join us for proceedings if you’re not going to the games.

Saturday night will also see the return of English Premier League action with title holders Manchester United playing newly promoted Crystal Palace in the early kick-off. The Red Devils find themselves a little off the pace to start the season, while Aussie Mile Jedinak will be hoping to recover from Australia’s disastrous performance against Brazil to help the Eagles make a real statement to the league.

Sunday will see the Bulldogs take on the Knights in the second league elimination final and of course there’ll be highlights from all the weekend’s action no matter what code you support. It all adds up to another amazing weekend of sport for patrons of Strathfield Sports Club but we’ll let you do the maths and hope to see you down here at some stage over the next few days!

Damien Bellemore