The week ahead in sport: The finals await

25 September 2020

Written by: Stephen Riosa

It's finals everywhere as leagues are either in it or pushing towards it.

AFL

There won’t be any matches during the weekend as teams have a bye before the highly anticipated finals series. It may be a bit of a wait, but the opening match of the finals will begin next week.

 

Port Adelaide v Geelong Cats, Adelaide Oval, 1/10, 7:40pm (1st Qualifying Final)

The Power and the Cats kick things off on Thursday night to begin the 2020 AFL finals series. It will be an interesting head-to-head battle between two of the best key forwards in season, with Coleman medallist Tom Hawkins at one end and runner-up Charlie Dixon at the other.

Both teams also boast strong midfields. All-Australian captain Patrick Dangerfield leading a Cats midfield featuring first-time All-Australian Cam Guthrie, Sam Menegola, Mitch Duncan and skipper Joel Selwood. Port’s midfield features All-Australian vice-captain Travis Boak, hard nut Ollie Wines and ball-magnet Tom Rockliff.

Tom Hawkins was phenomenal in their Round 12 clash, with 17 disposals, 10 marks and six goals, while Charlie Dixon had a night to forget. Geelong will be hoping for another big performance from their spearhead. The winner will advance straight to the preliminary final, while the loser will take on the winner of West Coast v Collingwood.

 

Some fans of bottom 10 teams can celebrate a little, with Christian Petracca, Max Gawn (Melbourne), Nick Haynes (GWS Giants) and Luke Ryan (Fremantle) all making the All-Australian team.

 

All finals matches can be seen on Channel Seven (free-to-air), Foxtel, Kayo and AFL Live Pass.

 

NRL

It’s the final round of the home-and-away season and with all top eight spots secured, teams will have their sights set towards the finals series.

 

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Sydney Roosters, ANZ Stadium, 25/9, 7:55pm (free-to-air)

It’s a battle between Sydney arch-rivals the Rabbitohs and the Roosters. Their respective spots in the top eight are essentially locked in, but they may see each other during the finals and whoever wins here will get a nice confidence boost if that were to happen.

 

St. George Illawarra Dragons v Melbourne Storm, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, 27/9, 4:05pm (free-to-air)

It may be a clash between 13th and second, but the Storm will be heading into this game as underdogs after making 12 changes. They have their spot secured and don’t want to risk any players this game. Ricky Leutele and Aaron Pene will debut for Melbourne.

 

All games can be seen on Foxtel, Kayo and NRL Live Pass. Free-to-air games can be seen on Channel Nine.

 

Cricket

The 2020 IPL season is underway and the Aussies have had their moments. David Warner will be looking to bounce back after going out in bizarre fashion with just six runs.

 

Chennai Super Kings v Delhi Capitals, Dubai International Cricket Stadium, 26/9, 12am

Kolkata Knight Riders v Sunrisers Hyderabad, Sheikh Zayed Stadium, 27/9, 12am

Rajasthan Royals v Kings XI Punjab, Sharjah Cricket Stadium, 28/9, 12am

Royal Challengers Bangalore v Mumbai Indians, Dubai International Cricket Stadium, 29/9, 12am

Delhi Capitals v Sunrisers Hyderabad, Sheikh Zayed Stadium, 30/9, 12am

Rajasthan Royals v Kolkata Knight Riders, Dubai International Cricket Stadium, 1/10, 12am

Kings XI Punjab v Mumbai Indians, Sheikh Zayed Stadium, 2/10, 12am

 

Games can be seen on Foxtel and Kayo.

 

Super Netball

The top four is secure and the final round will decide what matchups we see. The teams going through to the semi-finals are the Vixens, Lightning, Fever and Swifts.

 

Round 14

Collingwood Magpies vs Queensland Firebirds, Nissan Arena, 26/9, 1pm (free-to-air)

NSW Swifts vs GIANTS Netball, Nissan Arena, 26/9, 3pm (free-to-air)

West Coast Fever vs Adelaide Thunderbirds, Nissan Arena, 26/9, 7:30pm

Sunshine Coast Lightning vs Melbourne Vixens, USC Stadium, 27/9, USC Stadium (free-to-air)

 

All games can be seen on Netball Live, games not free-to-air on Telstra TV. Free-to-air games can be seen on Channel Nine.

 

NBA

Eastern Conference Finals: Miami Heat lead Boston Celtics 3-1

The Heat’s Cinderella story continues, one win away from their first NBA finals since 2014 when LeBron James was still on the team. Rookie Tyler Herro has stepped up on the big stage, scoring 22 points in Game 3 and 37 in Game 4, beating Dwyane Wade’s record for most playoff points by a Miami rookie.

The Celtics were boosted by the return of Gordon Hayward but now sit in a tough spot down 3-1. Stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker have all played well this series, but they’ll need the supporting cast to step up to win three straight games against a Heat team who have shown their depth.

 

Game 5: Miami Heat @ Boston Celtics, 26/9, 10:30am

 

Western Conference Finals: Los Angeles Lakers lead Denver Nuggets 3-1

It has been an entertaining series, with the stars from both teams doing what fans hoped they would. Anthony Davis’ 37 points and 10 rebounds led the Lakers in a comfortable 126-114 Game 1 victory. He went on hit a buzzer-beating game-winner in Game 2 to give LA a 105-103 win and a 2-0 series lead.

The game also featured a LeBron James scoring onslaught in the first half and a captivating last quarter duel between Davis and Nikola Jokic, with “The Brow” scoring LA’s last 10 points and “The Joker” scoring Denver’s last 12.

In Game 3 the Lakers, led by Rajon Rondo’s defence, came storming back in the fourth quarter after being down by 20. But Jamal Murray had ice in his veins, hitting a number of clutch shots to seal a 114-106 win for the Nuggets and make it a 2-1 series. Murray ended the game with 28 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds.

 

Game 5: Denver Nuggets @ LA Lakers, 27/9, 11am

 

Playoffs can be seen on Foxtel (ESPN) and Kayo.

 

NHL

We’re approaching the deep end of the Stanley Cup Finals. It’s the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Dallas Stars, with the Lightning holding a 2-1 series lead. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos made a courageous return after being sidelined due to a core muscle injury back in February. He played just three minutes, but in that time scored a goal.

 

Game 4: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Dallas Stars, 26/9, 10am

Game 5: Dallas Stars @ Tampa Bay Lightning, 27/9, 10am

 

Games can be seen on Foxtel (ESPN) and Kayo.

__________________________________________________________________

Jayson Tatum by Erik Drost available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.