The Hunter’s Weekend of Sports – 4 Oct
Tips, Tricks, Picks and Odds.
When one door closes, another always opens.
Over the past and coming days, the world of sports has seen many leagues wrap it up for another year. The AFL is done, the NRL is close to it and the MLB is only a couple of weeks away. But, of course, these league endings spell new beginnings as the NHL, NBL and NBA all kick off. It’ll be tough to keep track of all the action in the weeks to come, but I’ve done my best to pick out the absolute highlights for you.
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 – NBL
The NBL is BACK! After far too many months anxiously stewing with no domestic basketball to fulfill our desires, the NBL has finally returned and what a way to start. Last night, the first ever Melbourne derby (coined The Throwdown) took place, with the newly formed South-East Melbourne Phoenix beating last years finalists Melbourne United in an absolute thriller. The rest of the league kicks off over the coming days, and if the games are anything like last night we’re in for an absolute treat.
Sydney Kings v Cairns Taipans
Starting their season in Sydney tonight are the Kings and Taipans, two teams with very different results last season – who’ll be looking to get their NBL20 campaign off and running with a big win. The Kings lost a few of their best players to the Phoenix over the winter, but made up for it by bringing in one of the league’s best PGs in Casper Ware. With Bogut and Lisch rounding out the lineup, this is a team of experience that knows what it takes to win.
I’m not sure what the Taipans were doing this winter… after finishing 6-22 last season – one would’ve thought they’d be keen to rebuild with a few choice acquisitions, but a few months later and there’s been nothing of note. The Taipans are a team struggling to pull in the numbers and if they don’t turn the franchise around soon, I seriously don’t see much of a future for them in the league.
Unfortunately for Cairns, I see the collapse continuing tonight. Big Nate Jawai isn’t enough to save them (and is frankly too good a player for the organisation to deserve). I see the Kings winning this one with relative ease.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Sydney Kings to Win
SATURDAY – Rugby World Cup
The world cup is well and truly in full swing now, and it’s been an exciting couple of weeks to say the least. Japan’s historic upset of Ireland was a personal highlight for me, and I’m looking forward to seeing how far the Cherry Blossoms can take it in this tournament. Speaking of upsets, it would be a sin to look past Uruguay. One of the all-time world cup results went their way last week when they beat 1.03 odds to put a serious dent in Fiji’s world cup hopes. Uruguay will be hoping to claim a similar result come Saturday, when they face the Wallabies in Ōita.
Wallabies v Uruguay
Of course, beating the Wallabies will be no easy task. For once, the Australian side actually look to be having a decent world cup. Their game against Wales, albeit marred by a few wrong calls, should serious promise and I can see them mounting a deep cup run if they keep their form up. Cheika’s made his fair share of squad changes already this tournament and this game will be no different. An untested lineup could prove interesting, but ultimately, I see the Wallabies running over Uruguay without a problem
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Wallabies to Win
SUNDAY – NRL Grand Final
Boy oh boy am I keen for this one. We’ve been through an absolute rollercoaster for finals footy let me tell you that much. We’ve seen teams win 58-0 but then lose by a similar margin the following week. We’ve even seen fan favourites make deep runs while others stumble at the first hurdle. We’ve seen individual standouts and complete implosions. And it’s all been leading to this game.
Roosters v Raiders
The Roosters in this game are the team to beat. As reigning champs, on their home pitch, the stars seem to have aligned once more to allow them to defend their title in ideal conditions. Teddy just scooped up the Dally M and Mitchell’s won the points-leader award for 2019 – everything seems to be coming up Roosters.
Of course, Canberra aren’t a team to be underestimated. With one of the most intense fanbases in Australian sports and the hopes of every scorned NRL teams’ fanbase backing them up, Canberra have just pushed further and further in this incredible season. Nicoll-Klokstad has had a breakout season, and the likes of Papalii and Hodgson have been stellar. The Raiders are one of the toughest competitors in the league and I can see them really taking it to the Roosters.
I’ve got a feeling this is going to be one of the best finals in history. The Roosters dynamic offence against the Raiders staunch defence is a script that effectively writes itself. This’ll go right to the wire and I think it’ll come down to which team wants it more. For that reason and that reason alone, I have to go with the Raiders here. It’s about time the trophy went back to Canberra – and boy do they deserve it.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Raiders to Win