Do yourself an enormous favour – buy a carton (or whatever your drink of choice is), stock up on some snacks, if you’re based somewhere like Brisbane, invest in a beer cooler, and pray that your girlfriend/wife has made plans that don’t involve you. This weekend (particularly Sunday afternoon) is packed with back-to-back encounters you don’t want to miss.
Four Nations: New Zealand v England, Dunedin, Saturday 5:30pm (AEDT)
There’s no Sonny Bill Williams or Sam Burgess this time, but the memory of last year’s epic Wembley semi-final between these countries at the 2013 World Cup – regarded as one of the greatest Test matches of all time – are still fresh. And there’s plenty riding on this clash, too, with England most likely needing a decent-sized win to reach the Four Nations final, while New Zealand, the only unbeaten team thus far, can still miss out if they lose by 10 or more. Shaun Johnson, who broke England’s hearts at the World Cup, is the player to watch in the Kiwis’ line-up as he continues his rise from electrifying talent to genuine superstar, while the battle up front between Jesse Bromwich and James Graham will be a doozey.
Premier League: Liverpool vs. Chelsea, 11:35pm, Anfield
If your stumbling home later tonight looking to delay the inevitable hangover of Sunday morning, be sure to switch on the important premier league clash between Liverpool and Chelsea. These two teams find themselves in much different situations than the corresponding clash last season, in which Liverpool were chasing the title, and Chelsea were desperate to steal some points off their northern rivals. In hindsight, the now infamous ‘Gerrard Slip’, very well may have cost Liverpool last years EPL crown.
Chelsea are now cruising unopposed at the top of the league with pundits already regarding them as the 2014-2015 campaign winners – even thought there are still 28 games to go. Liverpool on the other hand, are languishing in the mid table which has everyone stumped considering the impressive recruiting that occurred at Anfield during the off-season. The injury to Daniel Sturridge at seasons start has caused Liverpool to rely on their “big summer signing” Mario Balotelli, who has been as effective as a smartphone underwater. If there was a time for Super Mario to show his worth, it’s now.
Four Nations: Australia v Samoa, Wollongong, Sunday 4:00pm (AEDT)
The bookmakers are predicting a cakewalk for Australia…but this Toa Samoa side is a genuine force, and they are very unlucky not to have already sealed a spot in the final after narrow losses to England and New Zealand. Depending on the result of the today’s game, the Kangaroos may also require a win by a sizeable margin – which could derail their mindset heading into the clash. Samoa’s pack is big and dynamic; Australia is short on size but boasts plenty of grit. Inglis, Cherry-Evans, Cronk and Smith are the key – Samoa’s spine is their weakness, although Pita Godinet has been a revelation out of dummy-half. This won’t be all one-way traffic, particularly as Samoa can still steal a place in the final with a win by any margin if England goes down to the Kiwis.
NBA: Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors, Sunday 12:00pm (AEST)
Two free-flowing offensive juggernauts that LOVE to shoot threes. Both clubs have scintillating guards who can score points at will. The Rockets (6-0) and Golden State (4-0) are two of the three teams that remain undefeated. According to NBA.com, the Warriors’ dynamic backcourt duo of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry sit second and third in the league in PPG (points per game) – Thompson 27.0 and Curry 26.0. Just before the season began Klay signed a $US70-million contract extension; since inking the deal, he’s been nothing short of amazing – including a career-high 41-points against the Lakers last week. Along with his 27 PPG, Thompson is shooting 53.7% per cent from the floor (67.7 per cent at home), and a remarkable 50 per cent (72.7 per cent at home!!!) from downtown.
Sitting tied third with Curry in PPG is Rockets guard James ‘The Beard’ Harden (26.0 PPG). His ability to get to the rim is up there with the best in the association – this explains his league-leading 11.7 free-throw attempts per game – with a free throw percentage of 91.4 – after the first six games.
Don’t miss this.
Cricket: Australia v South Africa, 3rd Twenty20 International, 7:35pm, ANZ Stadium
South Africa won the first clash in Adelaide in a canter, while a stellar bowling performance set up an even more convincing win for Australia in the Melbourne-hosted second encounter last night. Although there are several top-liners missing from both sides, these limited-overs games are crucial with the ODI World Cup just over three months away. This series has also provided the opportunity for several exciting international newcomers, including Ben Dunk, Cameron Boyce, Nathan Reardon, and South Africa’s Rilee Rossouw.