This weekend at SSC
They opened like flowers at the Opening Ceremony almost a fortnight ago, but the petals are set to fall on the Winter Olympics in Sochi this weekend. While the Aussie contingent hasn't managed to claim gold this time around, the world's most arid land is still well represented on the medal tally with two silvers and a bronze. We've marvelled at the beauty of the Games but of course there's also plenty of rough stuff happening over the next few days at home and abroad.
Mitchell Johnson has turned more than a few heads with his performances of late in the baggy green. The South Africans have become the latest cricketing nation to feel the brunt of his return to form when they were comprehensively beaten in the First Test. The world's topped ranked Test nation will be hoping to turn things around at St. James' Park and after winning the toss and electing to bat have put up more of a resistance to Michael Clarke's men.
We've waited all Summer for footy to return and three of our codes are not far from their seasons commencing. On the back of a successful inaugural Nines tournament in New Zealand, rugby league will revert back to the 13-a-side format this weekend. Another weekend of trial matches awaits, but try telling Souths and St. George players it's only pre-season when they line up to play for the Charity Shield on Saturday night.
The AFL are already in the midst of their pre-season Cup, with the Swans proving too strong for cross-town rivals the Giants in their opening encounter. All eyes will be on superstar new recruit Buddy Franklin when he makes his debut for the Bloods, while GWS will hope their young talent can light the way for them in their third campaign.
Rugby Union kicks off its season proper this weekend, with round 1 of the Super 15 getting underway on Australian shores. The Reds will play last season's Australian conference winners the Brumbies on Saturday night, while Waratahs fans will again be hoping this is their year, when they host the Western Force on Sunday afternoon. National bragging rights as well as five points go on the line as players strive to put themselves in the frame for World Cup selection.
There'll also be plenty of football this weekend, with another round of A-League and Premier League in store. The Sky Blues and Wanderers will both be in action on Saturday night as the finals race heats up in earnest. After weeks of turmoil Sydney FC will be hoping to string together back-to-back wins, while the Wanderers know every point will count ahead of a busy fixture schedule with their participation in the Asian Champions League.
So put your skates on and head down to Strathfield Sports Club, where we'll be carving up the best of the world's sporting action this weekend.