Wide World of Sports will cover both preliminary finals live in a feast of football this weekend on Channel Nine as the four teams left standing in the 2011 NRL Telstra Premiership fight to make the Grand Final.
In Friday Night Football, the Manly Sea Eagles meet the Brisbane Broncos in the first preliminary final at Sydney Football Stadium, with live coverage from 7.30pm on Nine.
With Brisbane’s inspirational skipper Darren Lockyer out after fracturing a cheekbone against the Dragons last weekend, the Sea Eagles – who have beaten the Broncos five times in their last seven clashes – will go in as favourites.
Immediately following the first NRL preliminary final tonight, Nine will broadcast the Rugby World Cup game between Australia and the USA at 9.45pm from Wellington Regional Stadium. After losing to Ireland last weekend, Australia must beat the USA to keep their dreams of a play-off position alive.
On Saturday night from 7.30pm, Channel Nine will have live coverage of the second NRL preliminary final when Melbourne Storm take on the New Zealand Warriors at AAMI Park in Melbourne. The Warriors, who have yet to win a premiership, are a danger side for a Storm outfit with plenty to prove.
At 9.45pm, straight after the Storm-Warriors match, Nine will broadcast the Rugby World Cup game between New Zealand and France at Eden Park in Auckland. Both teams are unbeaten and share top spot on the Pool A ladder.
The voice of rugby league, Ray Warren, will lead Nine’s NRL commentary team for the preliminary finals. Joining him in the commentary box are Peter Sterling and Phil Gould, while Andrew Johns, Brad Fittler and Wally Lewis make up the expert panel.
George Gregan heads up the Wide World of Sports expert rugby panel. Joining him is former Wallabies captain Andrew Slack, with Tim Gilbert hosting.
Then on Sunday at 10.00am Ken Sutcliffe presents Wide World of Sports on Nine. Joining him live in the studio is Socceroo and Sydney FC marquee signing, Brett Emerton. The Sunday Footy Show with Peter Sterling, Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler follows at 11.00am as the boys review the preliminary finals and preview the NRL grand final.
Next at 12.00pm it’s The Sunday Roast. Andrew Voss, Mark Geyer and Terry Kennedy will have all the news on and off the rugby league field, peppered with their irreverent brand humour. The show will cross live to Phil Gould in Penrith.