Although beaten in the ODI series against visitors South Africa, Australia holds slight favouritism heading the one-off Twenty20 match on the Gold Coast.
Despite Australia’s struggles in the 50-over variation, Justin Langer’s side has won its past four T20s on home soil and now sits third in the world in the format.
TWENTY20 FORM BODES WELL FOR MAXWELL AND CO
AUSTRALIA V SOUTH AFRICA, METRICON STADIUM, SATURDAY 7.20PM
International cricket will make its debut on the Gold Coast on Saturday night with Australia taking on South Africa in a one-off Twenty20 match.
It will be the first of four T20s at the ground this cricket season with the Brisbane Heat to host two Big Bash League matches there, while the Melbourne Stars will also play a home match on the Glitter Strip against Sydney Thunder on January 5.
Australia has been installed as the slight $1.80 favourites with TAB, despite losing the one-day series 2-1 earlier this week. South Africa is at $2.
Despite all its struggles in the 50-over variation, Justin Langer’s side has won its past four T20s on home soil and nows sit third in the world in the format.
To celebrate the 50th episode of Cricket Unfiltered Australian legends Allan Border and Michael Hussey join Andrew Menczel to discuss all the big cricket news.
The two teams have not faced off in the shortest format in this country since 2014 when Australia won the series 2-1.
Aaron Finch, who will skipper Saturday’s team, and dashing all-rounder Glenn Maxwell are the only two surviving members of that side.
With an international match to be played for first time at Carrara, the pitch is expected to be on the slow side.
That could see the home side feature spinners Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa, Maxwell and D’Arcy Short in their line-up in an effort to build pressure on the tourists.
PUT A RING ON IT
SANDOWN GUINEAS, SATURDAY 4PM
Ringerdingding maps well to win the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) on Saturday.
The Darren Weir-trained backmarker with an electric turn of foot should relish the long straight at Sandown at his first try over the mile.
Ringerdingding ($3) saluted at Flemington last Saturday, finishing over the top of Tony McEvoy’s Scottish Rogue ($9.50).
The son of Sebring has won twice this preparation over 1400m.
Group 1-winning filly Seabrook ($3.40), a winner second-up previously, was 1.8 lengths behind Shillelagh for sixth in a blanket finish at Flemington last start.
The talented three-year-old daughter of Hinchinbrook won the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) and finished third behind Amphitritein the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m).
Long Leaf ($8) and Secret Blaze ($7) will need to improve to be in the finish.
BLUE STRIKER WARMING UP FOR HEATS
TAB MELBOURNE CUP HEATS, SANDOWN PARK, FRIDAY 7.49PM
Eight sensational heats of the Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup (515m) will be held at Sandown Park on Friday night, and one greyhound that must be respected is Blue Striker.
Trainer Peter Akathiotis is quietly confident about the chances of his rising star, which boasts a scintillating 29.20sec PB at Sandown.
“The good thing about box eight is that he will have room early and can create his own luck. I think he will either be leading or sitting second early, and if that’s the case he should prove hard to beat,” Akathiotis said.
Blue Striker ($4.40) is on the third line of betting behind West On Augie ($3.60) and Dyna Hunter ($3.70).
Sandown will also host four heats of the $150,000 Group 1 Bold Trease (715m) on Friday, with TAB offering $2500 jackpots on the First 4s in every race.
TAB SPECIAL BET
The Socceroos to defeat South Korea by 2+ goals at $4
NICK QUINN’S TIPS
(Sandown Saturday, Race 6, No. 8)
Had been knocking of the door of a win this campaign and won stylishly at Flemington over the carnival. Arguably his most impressive win was at Sandown and looks well placed to win again.
(Sandown Saturday, Race 7, No. 5)
Caught the eye at Flemington last start in the Carbine Club when held up before finishing strongly for third. Should appreciate the spacious Sandown straight and looks a strong each way chance.
(Sandown Saturday, Race 5, No. 3)
Resumed from a lengthy spell with a nice run at Flemington and should strip fitter from that outing. A previous second-up winner and worth a bet at big odds.
(Rosehill Saturday, Race 1, No. 3)
Unbeaten James Cummings-trained colt who has looked very progressive winning his first two career starts. Looks a good way to start the day with a short-priced winner.
NO SURE THING
WALLABIES V ITALY, PADUA, SUNDAY 1AM
It should be a lay-down misere for the Wallabies on Saturday night against Italy in Padua.
But after eight losses, including the 9-6 defeat to Wales in Cardiff last week, the Wallabies can’t be trusted.
Italy will chance its arm in a genuine boom-or-bust affair for the green and gold whipping boys.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika had planned to rest a host of top-flight players after a long season, but the first loss to Wales in a decade could prompt a backflip.
Uncapped duo Jordan Petaia and Jake Gordon are in the mix, as is veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper.
CASPER, DJ PIVOTAL ACROSS THE DITCH
MELBOURNE UNITED V BREAKERS, INVERCARGILL, FRIDAY 5.50PM
Melbourne United will rely on Casper Ware and DJ Kennedy to beat New Zealand Breakers in Invercargill with Chris Goulding still finding his feet after an injury lay-off.
The NBL champions survived a scare last Sunday against Cairns, clawing back from a double-digit deficit to win by seven points.
The task will be a lot tougher against the Breakers ($2.10), one of only three NBL teams to beat United ($1.74) this season.
Former United star Tai Wesley led the Breakers past Melbourne earlier in the season and the athletic power forward will again be central to the hosts’ chances.
United veteran David Barlow will get the job on Wesley, with Craig Moller, Daniel Trist and potentially Kennedy to lend a hand.
Goulding struggled to find his range in 25 minutes last Sunday but should be better for the run.
NO TIMMY, NO JEDI … NO WORRIES?
SOCCEROOS V SOUTH KOREA
SUNCORP STADIUM, SATURDAY 7.50PM
The Socceroos ($2.05) face their toughest test in the post-Tim Cahill and Mile Jedinak era on Saturday against South Korea ($3.60) in Brisbane.
With the 2019 Asian Cup less than eight weeks away, the reigning champion Socceroos must find a way to build momentum.
South Korea looks a genuine threat, with the visitors having claimed the scalps of Germany, Uruguay and Costa Rica of late.
The Socceroos defeated minnow Kuwait 4-0 last month, the rebuilding national team’s first hitout since the World Cup.
South Korea and Tottenham Hotspur striker Son Heung-min will miss as will experienced defender Jang Hyun-soo, who received a lifetime ban for allegedly faking his military service records.
Mathew Leckie, Tomi Juric and Robbie Kruse will be among those tasked with rebuilding the Socceroos.
YOU BETCHA WITH GILBERT GARDINER
With the World Cup of Golf just around the corner, Queenslander Cameron Smith will be keen to get off to a flying start bywinning the Australian Open. Smith fell short last year, finishing fourth, before going out to win the Australian PGA the following week. Let’s get on him for the win at The Lakes.
Odds: $8 Smith to win
Life after Tim Cahill and Mile Jedinak is going to be interesting for the Socceroos who kickstart preparations for the 2019 Asian Cup in Brisbane on Saturday against South Korea. At home, the new-look Socceroos should have the edge over their rivals and with luck could be able to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Our call — Australia to win 3-1.
Group 1-winner Seabrook is proven over the 1600m so we’re going to stick with her, while Ventura Storm is capable of getting back on the winner’s list after a gutsy 10th-placed finish in the Melbourne Cup. The Socceroos, surely, are the banker in Brisbane.
LEG 1 Seabrook to win Sandown Guineas $3.30
LEG 2 Ventura Storm to win Zipping Classic $5.50
LEG 3 Socceroos to defeat South Korea $2
Race 7, No. 10
Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 9.24pm
Don’t be worried by the bad draw, this guy is all class and looks likely to keep the picket fence going.
POKE THE BEAR
Race 8, Box 4
Sandown, Friday 9.28pm
Lines up in a heat of the TAB Melbourne Cup with a sensational recent record of nine wins from his past 12 starts including the Group 1 TAB Topgun.
BUTLER’S TRANSFER SHOULD HELP BOOST THE 76ERS
When push comes to shove you want to be on Golden State to win a fourth NBA championship in five seasons.
The Warriors ($1.57) are the short-priced favourites to complete the threepeat, having started the season strongly with an 11-2 record.
Toronto Raptors ($9) boasts the best NBA record (12-1) from Portland Trailblazers ($81) and Milwaukee Bucks ($21).
LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers ($26) started slowly but the NBA powerhouse has found its groove in recent weeks.
Boston Celtics ($8) are given the best chance of upsetting the Warriors in the post-season, while Houston Rockets ($10) could be the knockout hope.
The blockbuster Jimmy Butler transfer to Philadelphia 76ers ($21) should also see the Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid-led Sixers build towards the NBA All Star break.
Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo ($4.25) is arguably the best player in the Eastern Conference and favourite to win his first NBA most valuable player award.
Anthony Davis ($5.50) is on the next line, from James ($6) and Steph Curry ($6) with Kawhi Leonard ($7) a further point behind.
Antetokounmpo has averaged 25 points, 13 rebounds and 1.3 blocks across the first 12 games.
Rookie of the year Simmons is an $81 league MVP chance.