Australians live and breathe sport, and have enjoyed prolonged success on the world stage in cricket and rugby. The land Down Under is also home to Australian Rules Football, a lesser known field sport worldwide but much loved within the country. For sports lovers, a trip to Australia is an absolute must, and 2017 could be a great year to make your journey there. There are some huge sporting events going on this year starting in autumn and going into winter, including the NRL Grand Final, the Ashes, and the AFL Grand Final. Here we take a look at the locations of each event and provide a little background information.
The AFL Grand Final
If you want to get a feel for Australian sport at its most passionate level then you need to check out Aussie Rules, and what better game to go to than the Grand Final? The ultimate AFL match will be played on 30th of September this year at the electric Melbourne Cricket Ground that has a capacity of over 100,000. The reigning champions are the Western Bulldogs, who claimed the title last year after a 62-year Premiership drought. The Bulldogs beat Sydney Swans by 22 points, and they made history by winning the final from seventh-place on the ladder for the first time. The Melbourne-based club are well favoured to make it all the way again this season, and are in with a chance of claiming back-to-back titles for the first time in their history. Now that would be a cracking way to start your Australian sporting tour.
The NRL Grand Final
Following on from that is a game with a similar shaped ball but a wildly different set of rules. The last match of the rugby league season is the Grand Final held at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney. The winning team is crowned Premier champions. The last match was a close-fought contest between Melbourne Storm and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in front of over 80,000 fans. The Sharks just edged it, winning 14-12 in an epic encounter. Melbourne are favoured to bounce back this year, though, with the best nrl odds placing the Storm at 7/1 to win. The 2017 match takes place on 1st of October, and tickets are already available for what will surely be a sell-out event.
The Ashes 2017
The greatest cricketing event on the planet is due to take place in Australia this year, and will begin in the final week of November. The Ashes will surely attract thousands of tourists to the southern hemisphere for the encounter between England and Australia. England are the current holders, but they have only managed to win on Australian soil twice in the last thirty years, so expect a tough contest. For those wanting to travel and watch cricket, the Ashes series is a prime opportunity. The fives tests will be held in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney. The Perth match could be a particularly momentous occasion as it will be the last time a test is held at the famous WACA Ground before the opening of the new Perth Stadium.
These events span from the end of September through to 2018, and those who want to hang around for the New Year can also catch the Australian Open in January. The Open is the first major Grand Slam of the year and marks the start of the tennis season. For epic sporting occasions, it’s hard to rival Australia.