The Hunter’s Weekend of Sports – 3 Jul
Tips, Tricks, Picks and Odds.
It’s the start of a new financial year, and another weekend of sports…
European and local leagues are well into the swing of things now, and we’re mere weeks away from the resumption of NBA and NHL action (hopefully). But, while America figures out everything they’ve got going on, we here in Australia are spoilt with our sporting options. From rugby to football and all things between, this weekend has served up some absolute pearls. And I’ve picked out the best of the best for your sporting pleasure.
As always in this column, I’ll explore what Australians can look forward to in this weekend of sports – focusing on a different sport for each day – and provide the tips that I feel most confident in based on my research, analysis and expert intuition.
FRIDAY – EPL
With a winner decided and only six games left, some would argue that covering the EPL would be an exercise in futility for any reasonable sportswriter. But, I would posit that I’ve never been a reasonable sportswriter. This weekend sees first and second on the ladder battle it out in a match that’ll be inconsequential to a ladder position, but still, be worth a lot for both teams.
Manchester City vs Liverpool F.C.
The thing is, while Liverpool has already won the title, they still aren’t quite at the points total reached by City’s record-breaking side last season. Having been knocked out of the UCL, the reds will be looking to solidify this team’s legacy as not just the best squad in club history, but the history of the league itself. Especially in a season marred by crisis.
That means beating the reigning champions.
It means getting more than 100 points.
And it means Liverpool still have a lot left to prove.
City, on the other hand, will be hoping to get a win to show their season wasn’t in vain. To come a commendable second place as reigning champions – and to beat the current champions – along with a deep UCL run over them would give the club something to be proud of this season. So this will be a big match for both sides.
When table position is locked in, sides tend to give their youngsters a bit of a run – test them out with proper league experience. And, while I think that’ll be somewhat the case on Friday morning, I still think these are two teams that’ll play to win this match.
Because both sides will come out strong, I think this will be a closely fought contest, and ultimately could well end in a draw after a game of back and forth action. I see City going up first, but the Reds pulling equal and (maybe) ahead.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Draw and City to score first
SATURDAY – NRL
If you told me at the start of the season that these two teams battling on Saturday would be doing so to avoid the wooden spoon, I’d have struggled to believe you. Yet, here we are in round 8 and the Warriors and Broncos are two clubs in absolute crisis.
Brisbane Broncos vs New Zealand Warriors
The Broncos since the return have been absolutely abysmal. They’re the only team to have not won since the pandemic pause; highlights include a 59-0 loss to the Roosters, and being bulldozed by the Titans of all teams last weekend. For Brisbane, something needs to change fast (but nothing is!). They’ve got some of the best young talent in the competition, but when they can’t put together a complete set, talent is an irrelevant factor. The Broncos need to win here or face trial by the public, and this honestly seems like their last chance to get their season back on the rails.
The Warriors are in a similar boat, having been shocking both before and after the pandemic. Without RTS they’re an empty side, and their passion has been lacking. Admittedly, it would be tough to spend so long away from family and friends for the sake of sport… and this definitely reflects in their results.
The Warriors, by no fault of their own, have been doing it pretty tough. And, for that reason alone, I’m picking the Broncos to walk away with the win here. Check out our expert panel for the full scoop on this round of NRL fixtures.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Broncos to Win
SUNDAY – Super Rugby
With its quickly thrown together conference format, Super Rugby has failed to appeal to the Australian public as a valid sporting consumption option during this pandemic. But, the same can’t be said from across the ditch. The Aotearoa-only conference has been a smash hit, with sell-out crowds (oh how we’ve missed crowds) and closely fought matches – you’d be a fool not to tune in to this comp.
Waikato Chiefs vs The Hurricanes
After this game, there will only be one team left in the comp that hasn’t won a game; and neither will want it to be them. Two of the most historically dominant Super Rugby sides have struggled to pick up the baton against their other New Zealand rivals, being delivered crushing defeat after crushing defeat.
The last five times these sides have met in Waikato, the game has been decided by a single-digit margin (and one even ended in a draw), so this is bound to be a good game regardless. I think the home advantage may just be enough to push the Chiefs over the edge, leaving the ‘Canes alone at the bottom of the ladder… for now.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Chiefs to win
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Feature image: Allianz Arena Munich Germany. Photographed by Isaac Mok. Image via Shutterstock.