Sport Sport Focus Don’t panic! A sports fan’s guide to surviving until next footy season
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Don’t panic! A sports fan’s guide to surviving until next footy season

footy broadcaster
Stuck for ideas about what sport to watch while footy season is in hiatus? Read on. Photo: Getty
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Footy fans with that sudden annual void in your lives, don’t worry.

There’s only about 158 days until the 2018 NRL season and 170 until the AFL kicks off again.

Okay. That probably doesn’t help. After all, nearly six months is still nearly six months, no matter how you spin it.

So, let’s see what else we have to look forward to in the months ahead.

There’s soccer, basketball, motorsport, horse racing, tennis, and – of course – cricket.

We can probably be excused for not wanting to think about cricket too much, with the Aussies falling to a dismal ODI series loss in India, following a less-than-inspiring performance in Bangladesh.

But just wait until the England team arrives on our soil later this month.

“I always look forward to cricket season,” former Australian fast bowler Merv Hughes told The New Daily.

“The international summer with England out here and the Ashes on the line just makes it more interesting.

“It’s been the longest-running competition of any sport, anywhere.

“The history and tradition tied up with the Ashes just makes it special.”

Ashes urn
Australia and England will battle it out for the Ashes urn starting in Brisbane on November 23. Photo: Getty

Hughes, who played 20 of his 53 Tests against England, believes the Australians will be “stronger for the experience they’ve had in Bangladesh and India”.

As for his tip, he says a lot depends on the top England players having good series.

“In any sport, if it’s a 50-50 contest you go for the home team,” he said.

“It’ll be a nice tight series: Australia to win 4-0.”

The first Test is in Brisbane on November 23.

Meanwhile, the domestic one-day competition started in Perth last week, with another 15 matches scheduled before the finals in Hobart on October 19 and 21.

The Women’s National Cricket League starts on Friday at Blacktown ahead of the women’s Ashes, starting in Brisbane on October 22.

Then December and January are pretty much full of women’s and men’s Big Bash League matches.

In the immediate future, there’s the Socceroos’ ongoing bid to qualify for next year’s FIFA World Cup finals in Russia.

On Thursday night, Australia plays Syria in Malaysia, then next Tuesday the return leg is in Sydney.

Should they successfully navigate that, there will be a pair of games in November against the fourth-placed North American team.

And soccer’s A-League season kicks off on Friday night. It runs through April, with the 2018 grand final scheduled for the weekend of May 5.

Sydney FC
Can Sydney FC repeat their title-winning efforts this coming A-League season? Photo: Getty

Also on Thursday night we’ll see the tip-off of the 40th anniversary NBL season.

Every Saturday in October sees a major meeting of horse racing’s Spring Carnival, culminating in Cox Plate Day on October 30, followed by the four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington.

This Sunday is the biggest day on the Australian motorsport calendar, when all eyes turn to the spectacular circuit at Mt Panorama for the Bathurst 1000.

Events on the Gold Coast, in Auckland, and Newcastle follow to complete the V8 Supercars championship.

Rugby league fans will get an extra fix at the end of the month, with the Rugby League World Cup starting on October 27, when Australia faces England in the opener.

Twenty national teams will play through November trying to reach the final in Brisbane on December 2.

As usual, tennis starts in Perth on December 30 with the eight-team Hopman Cup, but all roads lead to Melbourne Park and the Australian Open, which runs from January 15 to 28.

So the spring and summer months offer plenty of variety for the sports-watching couch potato – although we encourage you to get out and play a bit, too.

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