We think the Wanderers will be all smiles again when they take on Newcastle on Saturday evening
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1. Lloyd Williams continues to collect trophies
Nothing will top Green Moon giving Lloyd Williams his fourth Melbourne Cup winner on Tuesday, but the Spring Carnival isn't over yet, and Saturday provides him one more opportunity for Group One glory. Williams has Fawkner entered in the Emirates Stakes and while it will be a wide-open betting race, Fawkner is in impressive form. The five-year-old gelding has won eight of 14 starts and is so far unbeaten in three outings at Flemington this spring (the Sofitel Stakes, the Tavern Stakes and the Group Three Tab.com.au Stakes). He faces a tough challenge from Sydney horse Fat Al, who won the Epsom Handicap, but meets him much better in the weights. - BH
2. Wanderers keep streak alive
The Western Sydney Wanderers were supposed to be the easy beats of the competition in their debut season, but they dispelled that pretty quickly with a super solid defence and the best goalkeeper in the league, Ante Covic. Now they have strung two wins together against the Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Heart and people are starting to take notice. This week they come up against the Newcastle Jets with a chance to leapfrog them on the table. The Jets suffered a tight 3-2 loss to Perth last weekend, but the long trip back to Newcastle never bodes well for the players' recovery, which should give the Wanderers an important advantage. - BH
3. Wallabies pip Les Bleus
Of all the matches on the opening weekend of Europe's autumn internationals, the Wallabies' confrontation with France is probably the most interesting. Many in the Northern hemisphere are predicting a torrid tour for Australia, which it may well turn out to be. But given their encouraging performance in the 18-all draw against New Zealand, and the fact both David Pocock and Stephen Moore are back on deck, Robbie Deans' inconsistent lot do have the game to defeat the French. France has named the absolutely vital Morgan Parra, a player whose competitiveness and leadership could well prove the difference in Paris. The last time these teams met here, in 2010, Australia won 59-16 on a rare day where passes stuck, tackles were broken and cohesion was achieved. This time, they will have the sizable problem of Wesley Fofana in the centres (a decent warm-up before Manu Tuilagi at Twickenham), although they are spared taking on French captain Thierry Dusautoir, out through injury. A risky forecast would be Australia by five to eight points. - BS
4. Stoner takes one final win
There are no titles or positions on the line in this weekend's Grand Prix of Valencia, so it shapes as a battle of pride between this year's champion Jorge Lorenzo and last year's winner Casey Stoner. Dani Pedrosa may cause the leading two riders some trouble, but he has not really been in the contest when his Australian teammate is in the running. Stoner, though, will take some beating considering this is his final farewell to the sport. He will leave nothing in the garage to ensure he departs the category with two straight wins under his belt. Lorenzo will be lucky to even see him when he rounds the Aspar corner on the final lap. - BH
5. City edge past Spurs
Neither Manchester City nor Tottenham can be in any way satisfied with how they have started the season, despite the fact they sit in third and sixth respectively. Spurs appear to be in worse shape after suffering the ignominy of being booed off following their home defeat against Wigan. It is unlikely that things will improve at Eastlands on Sunday, as Manchester City look to forget their own humdrum performance away to West Ham. The injury to Micah Richards will not help their cause, though. It is entirely possible their midweek efforts to resurrect their Champions League campaign could detract from their performance against Tottenham – Gareth Bale is not exactly the sort of opponent you want when you are already fatigued. While there is no need for Spurs boss Andre Villas Boas to feel the guillotine hovering above his head just yet, their inconsistency is alarming, and against the greater depth of City they may find themselves on the end of a narrow 2-1 loss. - BS
Saturday, 11.00am – Day two of the First Test between Australia and South Africa continues from the Gabba.
Saturday, 7.45pm – Neither Sydney FC or Melbourne Victory have set the world on fire so far this season, but the sport's longest running rivalry rarely disappoints.
Sunday, 11.00am – Day three of the First Test between Australia and South Africa continues from the Gabba.
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