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Aussie Rules: What is on next week

Test cricket between Sri Lanka and Australia, round 16 of the AFL, the return of the NRL and the start of the Tour de France are all on the agenda next week.

After losing the One Day International series against Sri Lanka, the Aussies will be looking to make amends in the two-match Test series. The first Test gets underway on Wednesday in Galle and Pat Cummins’ side are in for another tough test.

Following a break due to game two of State of Origin, the NRL is back with round 16 of the competition. Saturday’s clash between the Cowboys and Broncos looks the highlight.

It is also round 16 of the AFL with some exciting games to look forward to as the business end of the season fast approaches.

For the cycling enthusiasts among us, the Tour de France gets underway on Friday and there are a couple of big Aussie hopes to get excited about.

So lets take a look at what is coming in the week ahead.

Round 16 of the AFL

It could not be tighter at the top of the AFL ladder. Melbourne currently top the pile on 44 points, and are priced at 19/10 to win the grand final, but then there are four teams all sat on 40 points.

Among them are Brisbane and they get the round underway on Thursday night when they entertain the eighth-placed Bulldogs.

Carlton face St Kilda on Friday night, while Melbourne and Geelong will be expected to pick up wins against Adelaide and North Melbourne respectively.

Arguably the game of the round will see Collingwood and Gold Coast go head-to-head as the battle  to make the top eight hots up.

Fremantle will be looking to bounce back from a defeat against Carlton when they face Port Adelaide at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

The NRL returns with round 16

State of Origin never disappoints and we are set up for a decider in Brisbane after New South Wales levelled the series in Perth on Sunday.

But now it is back to the bread and butter of the NRL, which is equally as exciting.

The action gets underway on Thursday night and there is a great game in prospect when the Manly Sea Eagles entertain the high-flying Melbourne Storm, who are priced at 7/25 to win and will be looking to close the gap on Penrith at the top of the ladder.
The Panthers take on the Roosters on Friday night, while there is another intriguing game on Saturday as a resurgent Bulldogs side face the Sharks.

Arguably the game of the weekend will see the third-placed Cowboys take on fifth-placed Brisbane in a Queensland derby in Townsville on Saturday afternoon. In the evening kick-off the Rabbitohs take on the Eels.

Sunday sees the Warriors face the Tigers and the Dragons entertain the Raiders.

Sri Lanka v Australia 1st Test Match

Australia will complete the tour of Sri Lanka with a two-match Test series and they will be keen to go out on a high after losing the ODI series.

The first Test will get underway on Wednesday and it will be interesting to see if it goes the five days. Australia are priced at 11/10 to win the Test series. If the ODI series is anything to go by it will be a closely-fought encounter and Australia will be be bombarded with a barrage of spin bowling.

They will have to cope better than they did in the One Day games when the batting order struggled to put partnerships together.

There are again injury concerns heading into the match with both Travis Head and former captain Steve Smith carrying knocks.

Tour de France gets underway

The world’s greatest bike race will start on Friday with the ‘Grand Depart’ in Denmark and will finish in Paris three weeks down the line.

The Slovenian duo of Tadej Pogacar 8/11 and Primoz Roglic 4/1 are the two hot fancies, while Jonas Vingegaard and Geraint Thomas cannot be overlooked.

However there is some Australian interest with Ben O’Connor in with a shout of making the podium, while Jack Haig may not be too far away either.

Caleb Ewan and Michael Matthews will also be chasing stage wins and possibly the green jersey for the points classification.

The Australian team to follow for the three weeks is Team BikeExchange-Jayco. Matthews is part of the team, while they will also be chasing stage wins with star sprinter Dylan Groenewegen. The Dutchman has four Tour de France stage wins to his name and will be looking to add to that.

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