GRIPPING ACTION: A feast of local and international footy is on offer this weekend.
GRIPPING ACTION: A feast of local and international footy is on offer this weekend. Cordell Richardson

Strap yourself in for rugby league extravaganza


RUGBY league fans have a smorgasbord of action this weekend, with an incredible eight Test matches or Origins to be played, along with local competition games.

The action kicks off early on Friday at North Sydney Oval with an under-18 female clash between NSW and Queensland.

This will be followed by the women's Origin clash at 7.45pm where NSW will be out to retain the Shield while Queensland will be hoping to go one better than last year.

This was one of the games of the year last season.

Five games are on Saturday, starting at 1.10pm where the women's Test match between New Zealand and Samoa will be played at Mt Smart Stadium.

This game will be followed by a Oceania Test between New Zealand and Tonga. The last time these two countries played it was a great encounter with Tier 2 country Tonga defeating the Kiwis.

Tonga are on the rise and with a host of NRL stars pledging their allegiances to the country, it augurs well for fierce battle.

Three games are also being played at Leichhardt Oval.

The first match set down at 3.40pm is a women's Test between Fiji and PNG.

At 5.40pm, men take the field where Fiji will battle Lebanon.

A Pacific Test between PNG and Samoa will complete the day's action.

On Sunday, all eyes will be on State of Origin 2 from Perth where NSW will be looking to send it into a decider while Queensland will be out to claim the series.

Ipswich league is still on so get out to one of the many senior or junior games that will be contested.

Blues panicking

LOYALTY in sport is dead.

This was brought to the forefront again when NSW named their side for game 2 in Perth.

Some changes had to be made due to injuries but NSW may have panicked a little by making four further changes to a side that only lost by four points.

Cody Walker was the form five-eight in the NRL but has paid the price after only one game.

Josh Morris and Angus Crichton were another two players that felt the selection axe.

The most baffling of all was the dumping of Latrell Mitchell who only a month ago was regarded as the best player in the game after some barnstorming performances.

Although game 1 was not one of his best, Mitchell is a man that Queensland fear. The Maroons will be glad that he won't be opposing them.

RLI Rd 13 preview

REDBANK v Goodna (Saturday): This game promises to be the clash of the round.

Redbank are on a superb run accounting for all opposition in recent weeks while Goodna on their day can overpower any team when they click on their day.

The Bears are doing all the little things right and this is reflected in some great wins. The Eagles have been up and down in their past few games. Discipline will be paramount for both teams and the club that settles better might just win this one.

Tip: Goodna.

BROTHERS v Fassifern (Sunday): Brothers are coming off a good win over Goodna while Fassifern were very flat in their loss to Norths.

Brothers are always a tough team when playing at home and welcome Player of the Year leader Wes Conlon back into the team.

Fassifern looked to have turned the corner after their first win recently followed up by an encouraging effort the following game but they returned to their old ways last game.

Brothers will be without halfback Chris Ash who will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks but have enough depth to cover for him. The Bombers must turn up for this game or a big score could be on the cards.

Tip: Brothers.

Norths v Swifts (Sunday): Norths have found some great form recently. If they continue to play the football they are producing, they will be a big shot for the top four.

Swifts, flying high and sitting currently in second, will be out to keep the pressure on leaders with a win.

The Tigers produced probably their best performance last game and did it with a combination of forwards going forward and a backline that clicked into gear.

The Bluebirds can put an average game in on occasions but they have found the right mix in some recent wins.

This one should be a close affair with the team that controls the ball the best winning.

Quick thoughts

SAINTS: 1. The Junior Wallabies are into the final of the Under 20 World Cup after some great performances. They will face France in the final. On current form, they should be holding the Cup aloft.

2. Sam Kerr again showed the world that she is one of the finest players around by putting in a starring performance against Jamacia. The team will be hoping she continues to play a big role in the next few games.

Sinner: 1. Collingwood rising Star Jaidyn Stephenson has copped a 10 week ban for bet- ting on an AFL game which he was playing in. It's a tough stance but one that had to be made. Hopefully the young man learns from his costly mistake.

Did you know? 1. Clive Lloyd and Ricky Ponting are the only captains to have won the Cricket World Cup twice. Lloyd in 1975 and 1979 and Ponting in 2003 and 2007.

2. Chetan Sharma from India was the first bowler to claim a hat-trick at a World Cup. He did it in 1987.

Bomber's best: I hope everyone got on my Ipswich Cup tip as Bergarac romped away to victory.

This week a Sam Kerr-inspired Matildas' outfit will account for Norway to keep their World Cup dreams alive.

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