- AP News
- Abc News
Australians welcome biggest sporting weekend of the year
SYDNEY, Sept. 28 -- Australia is gearing up for its biggest sporting weekend of the year, with over 180,000 people expected to fill two sold-out stadiums for the grand finals of the nation's biggest football codes.
Friday is the annual state 'Grand Final' public holiday in Victoria, ahead the Australian Football League (AFL) match-up between the Collingwood Magpies and the West Coast Eagles on Saturday in Melbourne.
Then on Sunday, the widely popular National Rugby League (NRL) season will reach its tension-filled conclusion when the Melbourne Storm defend their premiership title against the Sydney Roosters in Sydney.
Hundreds of thousands of fans will fill venues throughout the nation's two biggest cities, a spectacle that is representative of the pivotal focus the games occupy in the national psyche.
Police are prepared for one of their biggest periods of the year as well, as alcohol consumption and gambling figures surge across the weekend, with heavily armed officers being deployed at stadiums and across city hotspots.
However, for most the occasion is a simple opportunity to spend time with friends and family and make the most of Australia's rapidly improving springtime weather.