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A viewer’s guide to the weekend of finals football

Adam Goodes

Adam Goodes

First AFL preliminary final

Who: Sydney Swans v North Melbourne Kangaroos

Where: ANZ Stadium, North Melbourne

When: Friday, September 19, 7.50pm 
AEST

Broadcast: Channel 7 (Vic, SA, NT), Fox Footy

Adam Goodes

Adam Goodes. Photo: Getty

Sydney are the hot favourite to win despite North Melbourne being the only team to defeat all top five teams this year.

While the Kanagroos had a 43-point win over Sydney in round four, the Swans went on to win 12 consecutive matches, equalling a previous club record.

Plus, Sydney players have a combined 281 games of finals experience, while North players have only 124. 

Tonight, the Sydney side has added reason to celebrate as dual Brownlow Medallist and this year’s Australian of the Year Adam Goodes plays his 350th game.

Second AFL preliminary final

Who: Hawthorn Hawks v Port Adelaide Power

Where: Melbourne Cricket Ground

When: Saturday, September 20, 4.45pm AEST

Broadcast: Channel 7 (Vic, SA, NT), FOX Footy, FIVEaa, 891 ABC Adelaide, Triple M

Luke Hodge

Luke Hodge. Photo: Getty

Reigning premiers the Hawks have reached their fourth straight preliminary final and are the favourites to win the Saturday night showdown.

Port faces a battle if they want to progress to the grand final, yet they will be spurred on by their 14-point win over the undermanned Hawks in round 10.

Regardless, the Power have strength in numbers thanks to their loyal fans, who have turned out in the thousands to support their side during today’s training session at Alberton.

“We know Hawthorn will come at us with ‘anti-social’ footy,” coach Ken Hinkley said in a press conference on Friday. “But we’ll give it back and play Port Adelaide footy.”

First NRL semi-final

Who: Sydney Roosters v North Queensland Cowboys

Where: Allianz Stadium, Sydney

When: Friday September 19, 7.30pm AEST

Broadcast: Channel Nine/WIN (NSW, ACT, NT, Qld), Fox Sports, 7:30 2GB, Triple M and ABC

Jake Friend

Jake Friend. Photo: Getty

This one could go down to the wire. Both sides facing unique pressures: the Cowboys may struggle playing away from home, while the Roosters are recovering from a brutally close match against Penrith last week.

Luckily for the Roosters, they are welcoming back some important players this week. Hooker Jake Friend will make a much-anticipated return after recovering from a life-threatening chest injury, while backrower Aidan Guerra is returning from a one-week suspension after a chicken wing tackle.

Second NRL semi-final

Who: Manly Sea Eagles v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

Where: Allianz Stadium, Sydney

When: Saturday September 20, 7.45pm AEST

Broadcast: Channel Nine/WIN (NSW, ACT, NT, Qld), Fox Sports, 7:30 2GB, Triple M and ABC

Jayden Hodges

Jayden Hodges. Photo: Getty

The Bulldogs were the underdogs of the finals series until their shock 28-4 upset over the Melbourne Storm in Melbourne last week.

Canterbury coach Des Hasler must send his boys into battle against his former team, Manly, who are crippled by injury.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey announced on Friday that hooker Matt Ballin would be an unlikely starter in the final due to injury, but said hooker Jayden Hodges would most likely be cleared to play.

Despite their injury woes the Eagles, who are in their tenth consecutive season of finals football, won’t give anything away for free.

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