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Aussie Rules: A look at what is on next week

There is a big week of sporting action to look forward to as the AFL finals get underway, while there is also NRL, rugby union and cricket on the agenda.

Following a short break after the conclusion of the home and away season, the AFL returns with two elimination finals and two qualifying finals taking place over three days.

We will say goodbye to two teams, while two will jump straight to the preliminary finals, so the stakes are high.

The NRL finals are also on the horizon and this week we have the final round of the regular season with the top eight and top four still to be decided.

In the Rugby Championship the Wallabies will be up against South Africa again and will be looking to build on Saturday’s impressive win over the Springboks.

The Australian men’s cricket side will also play two One Day Internationals against Zimbabwe.

It is a busy week so let’s take a closer look at what is coming up.

AFL

It is time for the business end of the season, finals are here and the excitement is building.

The action gets underway at the Gabba in Brisbane on Thursday with the second elimination final between the Brisbane Lions, who finished in sixth and Richmond who finished seventh.

The first elimination final between fifth-place Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs, who finished eighth, will take place at Optus Stadium in Perth on Saturday.

Of course the loser of both of those games goes straight out, so it is do or die.

Sandwiched in between are the qualifying finals. The second qualifying final is first to go on Friday at the MCG.

It will see second-placed Melbourne take on Sydney Swans who finished third. Then on Saturday the minor premiers Geelong will entertain fourth-placed Collingwood, again at the MCG.

The winners will go straight through to the preliminary finals, while the losers do get a second chance and will go on to play the winners of the elimination finals in two semi-finals.

The winners of the semi-finals then go through to the preliminary finals and will be one step away from the big dance at the MCG on 24th September.
 

NRL

It is the final round of the regular season and there is still plenty to sort out. Including who will finish in fourth spot and we have a huge game to get things rolling on Thursday night.

Melbourne Storm, who currently sit fourth, travel to take on fifth-place Parramatta with both sides locked on 32 points. So whoever wins takes fourth spot and will give their chances of going on to win the premiership a huge boost.

Lower down the ladder there is another huge game as the Canberra Raiders look to secure their place in the top eight. To do so they just need to beat the struggling Wests Tigers at home.

The Brisbane Broncos, who looked set for the top four at one point, need to beat the Dragons away and hope that Canberra lose. Otherwise they will go another season without finals footy.

Cronulla Sharks will hold on to second spot if they can beat the Newcastle Knights, while third-place North Queensland entertain minor premiers Penrith Panthers on Saturday evening.

The Roosters and Rabbitohs have secured their places in finals and will go head-to-head at the new Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Friday night.

Canterbury Bulldogs also play on Friday when they entertain the Manly Sea Eagles.

The other game in the final round sees the New Zealand Warriors play the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday, with the latter out to avoid the wooden spoon.
 

Rugby Union

The Wallabies and South Africa go head-to-head in the Rugby Championship on Saturday 3rd September with Dave Rennie’s side looking to pull off another win.

Australia put in a fine performance to beat the Springboks 25-17 at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday and now need to back it up.

The clash will take place in the new Allianz Stadium in Sydney and should attract a large expectant crowd. 
 

Cricket

The Australian men’s team will continue the One Day International series against Zimbabwe with two games in the week ahead.

Like the first ODI between the two sides, which was played on Sunday, both matches will be played at the Riverway Stadium in Townsville, Queensland.

The second ODI will take place on Wednesday 31st August, with the third and final match being played on Saturday 3rd September.

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