For rugby league nerds, this weekend is the true rugby league Christmas. We have a phenomenal mix of men’s and women’s games, featuring top line players representing teams from all over the southern hemisphere. There’s a World Cup qualifier in Sydney between the Cook Islands and South Africa. There’s two State of Origin matches, one for each cisgender. We have two women’s internationals, featuring Samoa, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, as well as the NRL’s Pacific Invitational with the same teams, except that famously Pacific nation, Lebanon, plays in lieu of New Zealand. The Kiwis will instead be facing down arch rivals Mate Ma’a Tonga to avenge their 2017 World Cup embarrassment in the opening fixture of the new Oceania Cup.
(Also worth a look this weekend in boring old club football: London Broncos vs Hull Kingston Rovers in a relegation battle. Kickoff 4.45AM AEST on Friday)
It’s a feast of rugby league and significantly more tantalising than what the NRL has served up lately. Here’s a bit of insight into each.